Witnessing Mirboo North basketballer Belinda Snell’s half court shot in the closing seconds of the Opals’ Olympic match against France is a moment her brother Matthew will never forget.
“When Belinda got that shot in, the stadium was absolutely alight, everyone was cheering around the stadium,” Matthew said.
Despite the Opals losing the game in the resulting overtime, Matthew, who attended the London Olympics with his family in support of his sister, said it was a moment which had the whole of London talking.
“People were talking about it on the tubes (subway train) going home all through London… it was a very nice memory that I’ll take with me for a long time,” he said.
“Outside in the Olympic Village, people were watching the match on screen on a 30-second delay, and we could hear from inside when they saw the shot go in, it was pretty loud again.”
Despite taking home the bronze medal, after three consecutive Olympic silvers against the United States, Matthew said seeing the Australian women’s team in action on the world stage was “top shelf entertainment”.
“I absolutely loved it, Olympic fever was everywhere – in pubs, cafes, it was all consuming,” he said.
“Inside the Olympic Village and the surrounding areas the atmosphere was fantastic, there was a general excitement in everybody the whole time.”
While the Opals began strongly in their first round match against home team Great Britain with a 74-58 victory, a second-round defeat against France, 70-74, caught the team off guard.
“Belinda certainly was a little bit disappointed they had that loss to France – I think it’s fair to say Australia weren’t playing their best basketball in many of their games,” he said.
“And look, they weren’t that far away from the best games they’ve played, but they picked up as they went by.”
The Opals went on to land straight victories against Brazil, Russia, Canada and China, before suffering a painful semi-final defeat against the United States, and taking home the bronze medal in a tough match against the Russians.
Belinda was unable to speak due to a recent tonsil operation, however, The Express intends to chat to her for a full Olympic experience post-mortem. Stay tuned.