Lauren Jackson

Lauren Jackson. Photo: Gary Sissons

Basketball

Jackson made her Olympic Games debut as a teenager in Sydney more than a decade ago and she's been one of the world's best basketballers since.

The veteran is preparing for her fourth Olympics and will shoulder the Australian Opals' hopes of breaking their gold-medal hoodoo.

Olympic gold is the only prize that has eluded Jackson in her brilliant career.

She has won WNBA and WNBL titles in the United States and Australia's top leagues, she's been crowned the most valuable player in every competition she has played and led the Opals to a world championship.

But it's the Olympic gold medal she craves the most.

The 31-year-old is desperate to end the United States' stranglehold on the top spot.

Despite being at the top of the sport since making her international debut as a 16-year-old, Jackson still has the hunger and desire to succeed.

There will be added pressure on her in London after star Penny Taylor had a knee reconstruction last month.

But superstar forward Jackson thrives on being a leader and coach Carrie Graf will need her to guide a young brigade into the Games.