Cojea Laura Nicholls (Santander, 1989), still bruised by the injuries suffered in the Eurobasket, where she has played from fourth with a strong sprain in the ankle. An injury that would have left the championship to anyone, but not the player of the national team, who added his ninth medal with the national team on Sunday.
How was the party in Belgrade?
It was fine, but it's not over. Still alive. Not as a party in itself, but as the enjoyment of a job well done. At least, I am happy for a long time. There are people who think that when you receive the medal is when you like it the most and enjoy it the most, but no. In my case, the more time passes, the happier I am. In fact, there are times that being on vacation comes to mind some time in the championship and I get a smile without knowing why and is the best.
Talk about letting time pass, do you think that to understand what this glorious cycle of selection means, we have to do just that?
Yes I think so. That many years will have to pass before we really value what we are achieving. We have seven consecutive summers on the podium. It may seem easy, but it is not. Maybe it's hard to see, because we are on the way, and we may not have stopped to assimilate what has really happened in these years. Because we enjoy little and we always think about the next challenge. In what is coming. They will have to leave me some gray so that we realize that we have, or are, writing a line of Spanish basketball history.
And who does Laura Nicholls remember when he takes the podium?
Of my grandmother. I was lucky to grow up with her. They were many years together and I always remember her. I remember telling me to do what I wanted, but to try to be the best and have fun. My grandmother is always in my memory when I win something or I go away from home to play in a team. In those bad moments, I remember her, because she always told me that after the difficulties, the reward always comes.
How does this gold compare to the rest of the medals?
"Before Russia I thought I had broken my ankle, but I was not going to stop because of that. This gold tastes of suffering »
Well, it has been a complicated concentration, in which it seemed that we never finished to start. I think this has been the icing on the cake. Although we have been saying it for years, I think that due to many factors-Alba Torrens's loss, for example-this may have been the most representative triumph of who we are. It has been the triumph of the group's cohesion. Of the collective. Because there have been difficult matches that without that strength of all we would not have taken it forward, like that of Serbia. To me this gold knows me to suffer, because we have had a very bad time.
Would I place it above all in the ranking of all these medals?
I think it is a mistake to compare the successes we have achieved these years. All the medals are special and all have their value and their learning. They can not be compared, because the Laura Nicholls who won on Sunday is not the same as she did in 2013. I am a different person who has evolved over the years and who previously valued some things and now others. Yes it is true that this gold hides a relevance that others do not have, because it is historical. It was 28 years since anyone revalidated a European title and we have achieved it. That is something that remains forever. From now on it is going to say that we are the last ones that we have revalidated a continental title. It is a gold that is the history of European basketball.
And that Laura Nicholls of 2009 would have played the semifinals and the final with an ankle injury like she did in Belgrade 2019?
I would have played, sure. Since I was a child, I'm pretty big and when I propose something I do not care how steep the slope is because I'm convinced that I'll end up raising it. In 2009 I did not have the maturity that I have now, and I would have played the same, but not with the peace of mind that I did in Belgrade.
Has the tournament been the hardest for you personally?
Yes, because several things have come together. The day I injured myself against Russia, in fourth, I thought I had broken my ankle. It hurt a lot, and it still hurts. Then I started with a viral process, with a fever … but that was not going to stop me. I'm not one of those who fall apart. Upside down. They are things that happen and that's not why I was going to leave my companions, who are my lifelong friends, many of them.
«Tears on the podium? At that moment you have your heart in a fist. Everything came together and I exploded »
I was crying the other day when the national anthem sounded, where does that emotion come from?
From many parts. In the end, when people see us playing on television they do not appreciate the story behind us. The times that we have stumbled during the season, the vicissitudes that each one of us surpasses. Everything came together and I blew up a bit. I remembered this year when I arrived in Russia and I got injured just after landing. A very painful nerve injury that has made me play for much of the season with my foot asleep. When you get over everything and you get here and things go as you want, it's like a break. Like a mission accomplished. Know that you have not surrendered. It also influences that we play here as a team of friends and when you love people who are close to you, the feelings are stronger. The heart you have in a fist and clear that you get the tears.
What is the message that has most excited you?
Well there have been many, because I believe that this team has a special connection with people. The best compliment that we have done these days is that you can tell that we are good people. That we sacrifice one for the other. That we respect the game and the rivals. If then that gives us to win medals, then better than better.
Is it different to win a title with the national team than with your club?
How can it not be if I have been playing with one of these girls since I was 13 years old! With Alba, who was not there this time, I started playing as a girl. With Laia Palau equal, that was there when I arrived at the selection. Of course it has a special flavor. With a team it's nice, because you value other things, but nothing like winning a title with the selection of your country. (tagsToTranslate) interview (t) laura (t) nicholls