Maria Conde is a first-time Olympian and had wide eyes during the Opening Ceremonies in Tokyo on Friday, even though the spectacle took place without a crowd. For Leonor Rodriguez, it is a second Olympic Games and a very different one.
Conde and Rodriguez didn’t play at Florida State together but they share many connections and are friends. The players both learned about FSU through Brooke Wyckoff, who played in the WNBA as well as extensively in Spain, and they were coached by Sue Semrau. Now they are set to take the court for the Spanish team in Sunday’s opener against Korea at 9 p.m.
“We’ve had the honor to represent our country before, even at the youth level,” Conde said. “But just being here and seeing all of the athletes and walking around the stadium yesterday was an unbelievable experience.”
Rodriguez was part of a Spanish team that earned a silver medal in the 2016 Games in Rio. This experience will be vastly different but she appreciates the opportunity ahead after the Tokyo Games were delayed a year.
“I only feel lucky, I only feel privileged,” Rodriguez said. “Even if we have to walk around with masks on or wash our hands 100 times, I take it like a blessing because a year ago we didn’t know if the Olympics were going to be possible. Thankful and just trying to enjoy the moment.”
Rodriguez played at Florida State from 2009-13. She was a first-team All-ACC pick as a senior, averaging 14.9 points per game. Rodriguez is playing now in the Spanish League.
Conde played at Florida State from 2015-17 before turning pro after her sophomore season. She is now playing for USK Praha in the Czech Republic. She averaged 15.9 points last season.
Spain will play Korea on Sunday at 9 p.m., followed by Serbia on Thursday at 4:20 a.m. and Canada on July 31 at 9 p.m. All three games are set to stream on NBCOlympics.com, although parts of games could air on television, too.
Both of them shared their FSU experience with media on Saturday (Conde is on the left, Rodriguez on the right):
FSU’s competitors, coaches in Tokyo
Diving – USA – Katrina Young – Women’s 10M platform; John Proctor – Team USA Coach
Swimming – Finland – Ida Hulkko – Women’s 100m breast; Bosnia & Herzegovina – Emir Muratovic – Men’s 100m free, Honduras – Julio Horrego – 100m breast; Bahamas – Izaak Bastian – 100m breast
Beach Volleyball – USA – Nick Lucena; Jason Lochhead – team USA coach
Soccer – USA – Casey (Short) Kruger; Canada – Gabby Carle
Softball – Canada – Kaleigh Rafter; Lonni Alameda – Canada Pitching Coach
Track & Field – Great Britain – Zak Seddon; Jamaica – Kimmy Williams; Australia – Linden Hall; Hungary – Istvan Szogi; Bahamas – Alonzo Russell; Belgium – Kevin Borlee, Jonathan Borlee, Anne Zagre; Netherlands – Susan Krumins; Ireland – Andrew Coscoran; Cayman Islands – Kemar Hyman
Women’s Basketball – Spain – Leonor Rodrgiuez and Maria Conde
Women’s Golf — Finland – Matilda Castren
Men’s Basketball – Nigeria – Luke Loucks – Assistant Coach