Commentary: Sue Bird deserves a fifth gold medal – for making Seattle proud

As the Rio Olympics come to an end, I'd rather not give any more attention to the baffling Ryan Lochte incident or any of the other athlete controversies that made headlines this month – including the story of Mongolian coaches stripping off their clothes to protest a wrestling match earlier today, which is actually kind of funny.

Instead, why not celebrate the local athlete who made history - and has always been a role model off the court: Storm point guard Sue Bird.

Bird is now one of just five women's basketball players to win four gold medals, joining legends like Lisa Leslie, Teresa Edwards, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings. And although that's an historic feat in its own right, I believe Bird deserves a fifth gold medal - for her combination of professionalism, class, humility, leadership and community outreach.

As we continue to learn, not all Olympians are exemplary citizens off their respective playing fields. One can be at the top of their sport, but hardly at the top of the moral spectrum.

Refreshingly, by all accounts, Bird has been at the top of both throughout her career.

Just type in the words "controversy" or "legal trouble" or "arrests" next to Sue Bird's name - and you won’t find much, aside from her admitting that she once got a warning for jaywalking in Seattle. But type in "role model" and you'll learn about all of her community efforts with the Storm - not to mention, that in one Connecticut county, she was named Role Model of the Year.

Yes, people make mistakes. No one is perfect. But real role models have the ability to avoid controversy - and, in the rare circumstance that they don't, the innate quality of showing true remorse.

For 15 years in Seattle with an unblemished (and in fact, a glowing) record, Bird has set the standard. She's been an incredible example for our fans – and most importantly, for our youth.

And as these Summer Games come to an end, Bird is the one who needs to be celebrated by our local community - as a legendary Olympian and four-time gold medalist who's also been the epitome of class and exemplified the true meaning of sportsmanship her entire career.

So thank you, Sue, for making headlines in all the right ways. For your dedication to your team and your community here in Seattle.

Thank you for making all of us proud.