Olympian credits CYO, Catholic high school with success on the hardwood
Published: July 30, 2012
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) -- St. Gabriel Parish in the New York borough of Queens boasts three famous CYO basketball alumni. Speedy Claxton played eight years in the NBA, while Derrick Phelps starred at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, before playing in the pro ranks. The third, Tina Charles, made the U.S. women's basketball competing in the Summer Olympics in London. The Jamaica native was selected to her first Olympic Games this summer after compiling an impressive basketball pedigree the past few years. All of her hard work paid off as she's one of the key components of the U.S. team trying to capture its fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. "I was elated; it was a blessing," said Charles, 23. "Overall, it was just a great joy." In the U.S. team's opener against Croatia July 28, she scored 14 points, helping the team to an 81-56 win. Charles fondly recalls her memories playing sports with the Catholic Youth Organization at St. Gabriel in East Elmhurst. From second to eighth grade, the active child was always playing one sport or another at any hour of the day. "That's where it all started," she told The Tablet, newspaper of the Brooklyn Diocese. "I used to love just playing all sports with the guys, whether it was touch football, kickball or basketball. I was always after school just playing with a bunch of my classmates."
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