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Martinsburg woman recalls Olympic moments

October 01, 2000

Martinsburg woman recalls Olympic moments



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Vicky Bullett knows how her American friends feel today after they won the gold at the Olympics Saturday night.

As the 27th Olympics concluded and the U.S. women's basketball team garnered another gold with a 76-54 win over Australia, the Martinsburg native and pro basketball player recalled with fondness her experiences in winning a gold medal in 1988. She also won a bronze medal in 1992.

"I think I was blessed to be a part of the Olympics, especially in 1988 and to win the gold medal," she said from her home near Kearneysville.

She was an unlikely pick for the 1988 team, she recalled, just preparing to start her senior year at the University of Maryland, where she was a basketball star. That was the same role she played at Martinsburg High School, where she was coached for the last two years by her older brother Don. About 200 young women tried out for the team in 1988. She was one of the 12 chosen.

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"I didn't expect much, to be on the team," she said. "I was so young. I was shocked because I wasn't supposed to be there. But I worked real hard to get there. I cried more (when chosen for the team) than I did when we won."

Asked to describe what was best about the Olympics, she said "the whole experience. Seeing other athletes, just realizing you were there."

She was playing with other young women she's watched play in college. At her age, she didn't expect to get much playing time in the Olympics. But she got in about eight minutes a game.

"I was part of them coming back in the gold medal game," she recalled. "I was put in for defense, to get rebounds. The game was close. I didn't want to go in."

1988 was more enjoyable than 1992, she said.

"Once you're in it once and win the gold medal, it's not the same," she said. "I was so excited. I got a gold medal. The first time is certainly the best."

Another high point was the interaction with all the players around the world.

"I still talk to the same girls every day," she said.

The cultural experience also was memorable, she said.

"One of the best parts of the Olympics is that there were people from all different countries," she said. "You want to know about their lives and what it took for them to get there. It was a curiosity. Even if you didn't speak the same language, you wanted to communicate."

She's part of a family of athletes. Her six brothers and sisters were all kept busy by their parents in sports to keep them off the street and out of trouble, she said.

"We were really kept in the yard," she said. One of her brothers is a professional baseball player and hopes to get another shot at the major leagues next year.

After she graduated from college, she went to Italy to play. That's where she met her boyfriend Moreno Brasina, an engineer who just returned with her to West Virginia.

She played three years of professional basketball with the Charlotte Sting before being traded to the Washington Mystics last season.

She's been out of the country during the Olympics and was getting her satellite dish set up last week, hoping to see the end of the games this weekend. And she just built her parents a new home on Vicky Bullett Street to replace the one where she grew up.

She plans to rest before the start of the WNBA season in May, not playing winter ball in Brazil. She also plans to go back to college and continue her education, although she earned a bachelor's degree in general studies.

"I'm not sure what I want to do, just anything to do with kids," she said.

She's about to turn 33 and remains a fine basketball player. But despite her prowess, her future views of the Olympics will be from her home.

"I think I'm ready to give that up," she said.

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