Olympic Athletes >> Pau Gasol
- Date of birth
FC Barcelona (1997-2001), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA/2001-2007), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA/since Feb. 2008)
Olympic Games (1 medal - 1 silver)
- 2nd (2008), 7th (2004)
World Championships (1 medal - 1 gold)
- 1st (2006)
European Championships (5 medals - 2 golds, 2 silvers, 1 bronze)
- 1st (2009, 2011), 2nd (2003, 2007), 3rd (2001)
- 2 titles (2009, 2010)
- Rookie of the Year (2002)
- Selected to All-Star team (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011)
- 2 Spanish titles (1999, 2001)
- Most Valuable Player of the 2006 world championships
- Most Valuable Player of the 2009 european championships
Only the gold missing for Gasol
LA Lakers centre Pau Gasol has won everything in the world of basketball except the Olympic gold medal and the Spanish superstar now gets set to lead his country into the London Games with a score to settle after losing the gold medal match 118-107 four years ago, in a hard fought final against the USA.
"We can take our revenge for 2008", warned Pau, the older brother of Memphis Grizzlies star Marc who will also be part of the Spain team that takes on the world in England.
World champion in 2006, European champion in 2009 and 2011, Gasol has also won two NBA crowns with the Lakers (2009, 2010) as the massive forward (2.15m) solidifies his reputation as one of the greatest players in the game.
His importance to Spain was heavily underlined at the 2010 world championships where without their injured leader, Spain crashed out in the quarter-finals against Serbia.
Four years earlier, Spain went undefeated as Gasol led them to the final, which he sadly missed after picking up a foot injury in the nerve shredding one point victory over Argentina in the semis.
In the end it didn't matter as Spain crushed Greece in a lopsided final while Gasol and his teammates returned to euphoric scenes in Spain, where celebrations ran long and hard after their historic triumph.
Voted tournament MVP when Spain won the 2009 European title with a huge 85-63 victory over Serbia, he scored 17 points in the continental final in 2011 as Spain wore down a spirited France team 98-85 for back-to-back titles.
Born in 1980 in Barcelona, Gasol grew up in a medically-orientated family and initially took an interest in swimming before his height and size led to a natural switch to basketball.
Gasol has enjoyed celebrity status since emerging as one of the so called 'Golden boys' generation (along with Raul Lopez who has since joined Utah Jazz) that lifted both the European junior crown in 1998 and then the world junior title in 1999.
In his first senior season with Barcelona he helped them to the Spanish championship and a few months later was chosen third in the NBA draft, the second highest placing ever for a European.
Already an established star in the ever improving European league with Barcelona, Gasol made a mockery of critics that doubted his ability to adapt to the NBA when he won the prestigious Rookie of the year award in his first season with the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2001.
It was the first time a European player had won such an accolade.
The Olympics in Athens however were a disappointment for the basketball mad Spanish as the team failed to build on a strong start to the tournament and finished seventh, Argentina winning their first gold on the parquet.
And his stock rose even further in early 2008 when he joined the California glamour team, the LA Lakers, in a move that led to two NBA titles (2009, 2010).
A four-time NBA All-star, he also recently extended his contract with the Lakers until 2014 but once the current campaign is finished, Gasol will take-off for London and a chance to win the one remaining title missing from his honours.
Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.