Pau Gasol has spent the past few days traveling. He’s rehearsing for his pitch to the International Olympic Committee Saturday in hopes that his native Spain hosts the 2020 Olympic Games in Madrid. Yet, that hasn’t taken away from Gasol’s focus to rehab on his knees.
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) September 5, 2013
Gasol underwent procedures on both of his knees in May to eliminate unwanted scar tissue stemmed from his season-long tendonosis. During his three-month rehab, Gasol has continuously progressed from walking off crutches, weight training, swimming, walking, running and, as of last week, participating in on-court basketball drills. It remains unclear if Gasol experienced any setbacks considering the Lakers estimated he’d begin on-court basketball training in late July. But the team still expects he will be fully healthy once training camp starts Sept. 27.
Before then, Gasol will try to state his case on why Madrid deserves to host the 2020 Games over Tokyo, Japan and Istanbul, Turkey. In the video interview above, Gasol said in Spanish that’s “optimistic” his native country will win the win.
“We have a very strong bid based on trust,” Gasol said. “We must guarantee that we are going to organize a great Olympics in 2020 if we are given the possibility.”
Part of the strategy entails touting Spain’s recent athletic achievements.
Gasol led Spain to a silver medal finish in the past two Olympics, including 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. Gasol also guided Spain to three gold medals (2006 FIBA World Cup, 2009 and 2011 FIBA European Championships), two silvers (2003 and 2007 European Championships) and one bronze (2001 European Championship). Although soccer star Lionel Messi is Argentinian, he’s become a fixture on the FC Barcelona club soccer team for the past 10 seasons.
“Messi has lived in Spain for many years,” Gasol said. “I think there is no doubt that Messi’s support for the bid is very important, just like the support of many other figures. But he is a reference in world football, a very important sport, in our country as we know, and that always helps.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org