Basketball at the Summer Olympics

Basketball at the Summer Olympics
Governing body FIBA
Events 4 (men: 2; women: 2)
Games
  • 1896
  • 1900
  • 1904
  • 1908
  • 1912
  • 1920
Note: demonstration sport years indicated in italics

Basketball at the Summer Olympics has been a sport for men consistently since 1936. Prior to its inclusion as a medal sport, basketball was held as a demonstration event in 1904. Women's basketball made its debut in the Summer Olympics in 1976.

The United States is by far the most successful country in Olympic basketball, with United States men's teams having won 15 of 18 tournaments in which they participated, including seven consecutive titles from 1936 through 1968. United States women's teams have won 8 titles out of the 10 tournaments in which they competed, including six in a row from 1996 to 2016. Besides the United States, Argentina is the only nation still in existence who has won either the men's or women's tournament. The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and the Unified Team are the countries no longer in existence who have won the tournament. The United States are the defending champions in both men's and women's tournaments.

On June 9, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee announced that 3x3 basketball would become an official Olympic sport as of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, for both men and women.[1][2]

History

Basketball was invented by James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. Within a few decades, the new game became popular throughout the United States as an indoor sport. The popularity spread overseas and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) was organized in 1932 in Geneva, Switzerland.

American dominance

Thanks in part to the effort of Phog Allen[3][4]—a Kansas Jayhawks collegiate coach—the first Olympic basketball tournament was organized in the 1936 Berlin Olympics on outdoor tennis courts. Dr. Naismith presented the medals to the top three teams. According to the Olympic rules of that time, all of the competitors were amateurs. The tournament was held indoors for the first time in 1948. The American team proved its dominance, winning the first seven Olympic tournaments until 1968, without losing a single game. While the Americans were barred from sending a team that contained players from the professional National Basketball Association, they instead sent in college players; teams from some other countries sent in their best players, as some of their players were classified as "amateur" by FIBA, by earning allowances instead of wages.

Munich and after

The U.S. winning streak ended in 1972 under highly controversial circumstances, when the Soviet Union beat them in the gold-medal game. After the game, the American team refused to accept the silver medal, and the medal has been kept in IOC possession ever since.

The U.S. team reclaimed the gold medal in 1976, with Yugoslavia, which had beaten the Soviet Union in the semifinal, finishing runner-up for the second time. In 1980, with the Americans' absence due to the boycott, Yugoslavia became the third team to win the title, after beating the Soviets anew in the semifinals and Italy in the final. The Americans regained the title in 1984, by beating Spain in the final, with the Soviets boycotting this time. The Soviets won the gold medal for the second time in 1988, after beating the U.S. team for the second time in the semifinal, and the Yugoslavs in the gold medal game.

Professional era: renewed American dominance

The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. The Soviet Union entered teams of athletes who were all nominally students, soldiers, or working in a profession, but all of whom were in reality paid by the state to play in a well-developed league with modern facilities and train year-round.[5][6][7] In April 1989, through the leadership of Secretary General Borislav Stanković, FIBA approved the rule that allowed NBA players to compete in international tournaments, including the Olympics. In the 1992 Summer Olympics, the U.S. "Dream Team" won the gold medal with an average winning margin of 44 points per game, and without calling a timeout. By this time, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia no longer existed, but their successor states continued to be among the leading forces. Two newly independent countries of the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, Croatia and Lithuania, won the silver and bronze medals respectively.

The American team repeated its victory in 1996 and 2000, but its performance was not as dominant as in 1992. Since active NBA players have been allowed to compete in the Summer Olympics, the 1996 Games in Atlanta is the only instance where the Olympic host city also had a home NBA team — the Hawks. Yugoslavia was the runner-up in Atlanta, and France in Sydney, with Lithuania winning bronze again on both occasions.

The renewed dominance of the U.S. was interrupted in 2004, when the Americans barely made it to the semifinal, after losing to Puerto Rico and Lithuania in the preliminaries; Argentina defeated them in the semifinals, on their way to a gold medal finish, where they beat Italy in the final, and became the fourth team to win the Olympic title.

The Americans regrouped in 2008, beating the reigning FIBA world champions, Spain, in an intense gold medal game, with the Argentines beating the Lithuanians in the bronze medal game. The Americans and the Spaniards met again in the 2012 gold medal game, with the U.S. again winning, although with the closest winning margin for the American team. The U.S. won again in 2016, defeating the Serbians in the gold medal game, a rematch of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Final, after eliminating the Spaniards, who settled for bronze.

Women

The first women's tournament was staged in the 1976 Summer Olympics. The Soviet Union won five straight games, becoming the inaugural champion. The next two tournaments followed the six-team round-robin format, with the Soviets defending their title in 1980 amid the U.S.-led boycott, and the U.S. winning in 1984, against the South Koreans, amid the Soviet-led boycott. In 1988, the tournament expanded into eight teams, with the Americans beating Yugoslavia in the gold medal game. In 1992, the Unified Team, consisting of the former Soviet republics, defeated China in the gold medal game. In 1996, the tournament settled into its current 12-team format; the U.S. has swept all of the tournaments since then, winning 48 consecutive games.

Venues

All venues were indoor stadiums except for the 1936 tournament which was held outdoors on lawn tennis courts.

Qualifying

As of 2012, the qualifying process consists of three stages:

  1. 1 team (for each gender) qualifies as the reigning world champion.
  2. 7 teams for men and 5 for women qualify through their respective regional championships.
  3. 3 teams for men and 5 for women qualify through a world qualifying tournament, in which the best teams which did not qualify directly from each zone compete for the remaining berths.

Additionally, the teams of the host nation qualify automatically.

ZoneMenWomen
World Cup11
African championship11
Americas championship21
Asian championship11
European championship21
Oceania championship11
World qualifying tournament35
Host Nation11
Total1212

In 2020, the men's tournament will have a new qualification system. After the 2019 FIBA World Cup, seven teams will qualify directly: the top two European and American teams, and the top team from Africa, Asia and Oceania. The next 16 best teams from the FIBA World Cup will join the two teams from each continent at the Olympic qualifiers. It will feature four groups of six teams, where the best team of each group will get the remaining spots at the Olympics. The continental championships will no longer be used for Olympic qualifying.

Men's tournaments

Year Hosts Gold Medal Game Bronze Medal Game
Gold Score Silver Bronze Score Fourth Place
1936
Details

Berlin

United States
19–8
Canada

Mexico
26–12
Poland
1948
Details

London

United States
65–21
France

Brazil
52–47
Mexico
1952
Details

Helsinki

United States
36–25
Soviet Union

Uruguay
68–59
Argentina
1956
Details

Melbourne

United States
89–55
Soviet Union

Uruguay
71–62
France
1960
Details

Rome

United States
No playoffs
Soviet Union

Brazil
No playoffs
Italy
1964
Details

Tokyo

United States
73–59
Soviet Union

Brazil
76–60
Puerto Rico
1968
Details

Mexico City

United States
65–50
Yugoslavia

Soviet Union
70–53
Brazil
1972
Details

Munich

Soviet Union
51–50
United States

Cuba
66–65
Italy
1976
Details

Montreal

United States
95–74
Yugoslavia

Soviet Union
100–72
Canada
1980
Details

Moscow

Yugoslavia
86–77
Italy

Soviet Union
117–94
Spain
1984
Details

Los Angeles

United States
96–65
Spain

Yugoslavia
88–82
Canada
1988
Details

Seoul

Soviet Union
76–63
Yugoslavia

United States
78–49
Australia
1992
Details

Barcelona

United States
117–85
Croatia

Lithuania
82–78
Unified Team
1996
Details

Atlanta

United States
95–69
Yugoslavia

Lithuania
80–74
Australia
2000
Details

Sydney

United States
85–75
France

Lithuania
89–71
Australia
2004
Details

Athens

Argentina
84–69
Italy

United States
104–96
Lithuania
2008
Details

Beijing

United States
118–107
Spain

Argentina
87–75
Lithuania
2012
Details

London

United States
107–100
Spain

Russia
81–77
Argentina
2016
Details

Rio

United States
96–66
Serbia

Spain
89–88
Australia
2020
Details

Tokyo

Performance by confederation

This is a summary of the best performances of each confederation in each tournament.

Confederation 36
48
52
56
60
64
68
72
76
80
84
88
92
96
00
04
08
12
16
FIBA Africa15th–18th19th9th–16th------15th15th12th11th12th10th10th11th12th12th12th10th11th
FIBA Americas1st1st1st1st1st1st1st2nd1st5th1st3rd1st1st1st1st1st1st1st
FIBA Asia5th8th9th–16th7th11th10th13th13th11th12th10th9th12th8th10th8th8th12th12th
FIBA Europe4th2nd2nd2nd2nd2nd2nd1st2nd1st2nd1st2nd2nd2nd2nd2nd2nd2nd
FIBA Oceania------12th--9th--9th8th8th7th4th6th4th4th9th7th7th4th
Nations21232315161616161212121212121212121212

Participating nations

Nation 36
48
52
56
60
64
68
72
76
80
84
88
92
96
00
04
08
12
16
Years
 AngolaA10th11th12th12th12th5
 Argentina15th4th9th1st3rd4th8th7
 Australia12th9th9th8th8th7th4th6th4th4th9th7th7th4th14
 Belgium19th11th17th3
 Brazil9th3rd6th6th3rd3rd4th7th5th9th5th5th6th5th9th15
 Bulgaria7th5th16th10th4
 Canada2nd9th9th9th14th4th4th6th7th9
 Central African RepublicA10th1
 Chile9th6th5th8th4
 ChinaA10th11th12th8th10th8th8th12th12th9
 Chinese TaipeiB15th18th11th3
 CroatiaC2nd7th6th5th4
 Cuba13th9th11th3rd7th6th6
 Czechoslovakia9th7th9th5th8th6th9thA7
 Egypt15th19th9th16th12th12th12th7
 Estonia9thD1
 Finland9th11th2
 France19th2nd8th4th10th11th2nd6th6th9
 GermanyE15th12th8th7th10th5
 Great Britain20th9th2
 Greece17th5th5th5th4
 Hungary16th9th9th13th4
 India12th1
 Iran14th11th2
 Iraq22nd1
 Ireland23rd1
 IsraelA17th1
 Italy7th17th17th4th5th8th4th5th2nd5th5th2nd12
 Japan9th10th15th10th14th11th6
 South KoreaA8th14th16th14th9th12th6
 Latvia15thD1
 LithuaniaD3rd3rd3rd4th4th8th7th7
 Mexico3rd4th9th12th12th5th10th7
 MoroccoA16th1
 New Zealand11th10th2
 Nigeria10th11th2
 Panama12th1
 Peru8th10th15th3
 Philippines5th12th9th7th11th13th13th7
 Poland4th7th6th6th10th7th6
 Puerto RicoA13th4th9th6th9th7th8th10th6th9
 Romania17th1
 RussiaDF8th9th3rd3
 SenegalA15th15th11th3
 SerbiaGH2nd1
 Serbia and MontenegroG11thA1
 SingaporeA13thI1
 Soviet UnionJ2nd2nd2nd2nd3rd1st3rd3rd1stFA9
 Spain14th7th11th4th2nd8th9th9th7th2nd2nd3rd12
 Sweden10th1
  Switzerland9th21st17th3
 ThailandA15th1
 Tunisia11th1
 Turkey19th17th2
 Unified TeamA4thA1
 United States1st1st1st1st1st1st1st2nd1st1st3rd1st1st1st3rd1st1st1st18
 Uruguay6th5th3rd3rd8th8th6th7
 Venezuela11th10th2
 Yugoslavia6th7th2nd5th2nd1st3rd2nd2nd6th10
Nations21232315161616161212121212121212121212
Year36
48
52
56
60
64
68
72
76
80
84
88
92
96
00
04
08
12
16
Notes
^A NOC was not member of IOC
^B as China from 1936–56
^C part of Yugoslavia from 1936–1988
^D part of  Soviet Union
^E as West Germany from 1968–88
^F part of  Unified Team in 1992
^G now Serbia, part of  Yugoslavia in 1936–1988, as  Independent Olympic Participants (IOP) in 1992 and part of  Yugoslavia in 1996–2000
^H part of  Serbia and Montenegro in 2004
^I part of Malaysia in 1964
^J Soviet Union chose not to compete in 1936 and 1948

Women's tournaments

Year Hosts Gold Medal Game Bronze Medal Game
Gold Score Silver Bronze Score Fourth Place
1976
Details

Montreal

Soviet Union
No playoffs
United States

Bulgaria
No playoffs
Czechoslovakia
1980
Details

Moscow

Soviet Union
104–73
Bulgaria

Yugoslavia
68–65
Hungary
1984
Details

Los Angeles

United States
85–55
South Korea

China
63–57
Canada
1988
Details

Seoul

United States
77–70
Yugoslavia

Soviet Union
68–53
Australia
1992
Details

Barcelona

Unified Team
76–66
China

United States
88–74
Cuba
1996
Details

Atlanta

United States
111–87
Brazil

Australia
66–56
Ukraine
2000
Details

Sydney

United States
76–54
Australia

Brazil
84–73
South Korea
2004
Details

Athens

United States
74–63
Australia

Russia
71–62
Brazil
2008
Details

Beijing

United States
92–65
Australia

Russia
94–81
China
2012
Details

London

United States
86–50
France

Australia
83–74
Russia
2016
Details

Rio

United States
101–72
Spain

Serbia
70–63
France
2020
Details

Tokyo

Performance by confederation

This is a summary of the best performances of each confederation in each tournament.

Confederation 76
80
84
88
92
96
00
04
08
12
16
FIBA Africa12th12th11th12th12th12th
FIBA Americas2nd5th1st1st3rd1st1st1st1st1st1st
FIBA Asia5th2nd6th2nd7th4th9th4th5th8th
FIBA Europe1st1st6th2nd1st4th5th3rd3rd2nd2nd
FIBA Oceania5th4th3rd2nd2nd2nd3rd5th

Participating nations

Nation 76
80
84
88
92
96
00
04
08
12
16
Years
 Angola12th1
 Australia5th4th6th3rd2nd2nd2nd3rd5th9
 Brazil7th2nd3rd4th11th9th11th7
 BelarusBC6th9th2
 Bulgaria3rd2nd5th3
 Canada6th4th11th10th8th7th6
 ChinaA3rd6th2nd9th9th4th6th10th8
 CroatiaF10th1
 Cuba5th4th6th9th4
 Czechoslovakia4thA1
 Czech RepublicD5th7th7th3
 France5th2nd4th3
 Great Britain11th1
 Greece7th1
 Hungary4th1
 Italy6th8th8th3
 Japan5th7th10th8th4
 Korea2nd7th10th4th12th8th6
 LatviaB9th1
 Mali12th1
 New Zealand11th8th10th3
 Nigeria11th1
 Poland8th1
 RussiaBC5th6th3rd3rd4th5
 Senegal12th12th2
 SerbiaF3rd1
 SlovakiaD7th1
 Soviet Union1st1st3rdCA3
 Spain5th6th5th2nd4
 Turkey5th6th2
 UkraineBC4th4
 Unified TeamA1stA1
 United States2nd1st1st3rd1st1st1st1st1st1st10
 Yugoslavia3rd6th2ndA3
 DR CongoE12th1
Nations66688121212121212

Notes

^A NOC was not member of IOC
^B competed as part of Soviet Union from 1952–88
^C part of  Unified Team in 1992
^D part of Czechoslovakia from 1920–92
^E as Zaire from 1984–96
^F part of "Yugoslavia" from 1976–2000 and "Serbia and Montenegro" in 2004

Medal table

Total

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States (USA)232328
2 Soviet Union (URS)44412
3 Yugoslavia (YUG)1528
4 Argentina (ARG)1012
5 Unified Team (EUN)1001
6 Spain (ESP)0415
7 Australia (AUS)0325
8 France (FRA)0303
9 Italy (ITA)0202
10 Brazil (BRA)0145
11 Serbia (SRB)0112
 Bulgaria (BUL)0112
 China (CHN)0112
14 Croatia (CRO)0101
 South Korea (KOR)0101
 Canada (CAN)0101
17 Lithuania (LTU)0033
 Russia (RUS)0033
19 Uruguay (URU)0022
20 Cuba (CUB)0011
 Mexico (MEX)0011
Total30303090
  • Soviet Union (as of 1992) and Yugoslavia (as of 2006) are defunct. No team carried over the records of these nations.

Medal table, men

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States (USA)151218
2 Soviet Union (URS)2439
3 Yugoslavia (YUG)1416
4 Argentina (ARG)1012
5 Spain (ESP)0314
6 France (FRA)0202
 Italy (ITA)0202
8 Canada (CAN)0101
 Croatia (CRO)0101
 Serbia (SRB)0101
11 Brazil (BRA)0033
 Lithuania (LTU)0033
13 Uruguay (URU)0022
14 Cuba (CUB)0011
 Mexico (MEX)0011
 Russia (RUS)0011
Total19191957
  • Soviet Union (as of 1992) and Yugoslavia (as of 2006) are defunct. No team carried over the records of these nations.

Medal table, women

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States (USA)81110
2 Soviet Union (URS)2013
3 Unified Team (EUN)1001
4 Australia (AUS)0325
5 Brazil (BRA)0112
 Bulgaria (BUL)0112
 China (CHN)0112
 Yugoslavia (YUG)0112
9 France (FRA)0101
 South Korea (KOR)0101
 Spain (ESP)0101
12 Russia (RUS)0022
13 Serbia (SRB)0011
Total11111133
  • Soviet Union (as of 1992) and Yugoslavia (as of 2006) are defunct. No team carried over the records of these nations.

Win-loss records

Men's tournament

TeamGames playedWinsLossesWinning percentage
 Angola31328.097
 Argentina533221.603
 Australia1055253.495
 Belgium1367.462
 Brazil1126448.571
 Bulgaria331617.485
 Canada663630.545
 Central African Republic725.286
 Chile261214.462
 China50743.140
 Chinese Taipei281612.571
 Croatia281612.571
 Cuba452223.489
 Czechoslovakia462323.500
 Egypt44638.136
 Estonia312.333
 Finland1248.333
 France603129.516
 Germany341024.294
 Great Britain13211.154
 Greece241311.542
 Hungary331419.424
 India707.000
 Iran12210.167
 Iraq707.000
 Ireland606.000
 Israel202.000
 Italy915437.593
 Japan411130.268
 South Korea47839.170
 Latvia312.333
 Lithuania523220.615
 Mexico492623.531
 Morocco909.000
 New Zealand12210.167
 Nigeria1028.200
 Panama927.222
 Peru22913.409
 Philippines522527.481
 Poland492326.469
 Puerto Rico723438.472
 Romania202.000
 Russia201010.500
 Senegal24222.083
 Serbia351916.542
 Singapore725.286
 Soviet Union746113.824
 Spain955243.547
 Sweden734.429
  Switzerland1349.308
 Thailand707.000
 Tunisia505.000
 Turkey404.000
 Unified Team853.625
 United States1431385.965
 Uruguay562927.518
 Venezuela1239.250
 Yugoslavia604812.758

As of May 1, 2018

Women's tournament

TeamGames PlayedWinsLossesWinning percentage
 Angola5050.000
 Australia5640160.714
 Brazil4419250.431
 Belarus11380.272
 Bulgaria161060.625
 Canada3610260.277
 China4822260.458
 Croatia5140.200
 Cuba249150.375
 Czechoslovakia153120.200
 Czech Republic198110.421
 France231670.695
 Great Britain5050.000
 Greece7340.429
 Hungary6240.333
 Italy183150.167
 Japan259160.360
 South Korea3815230.395
 Latvia5140.200
 Mali5050.000
 New Zealand184140.222
 Nigeria6150.167
 Poland7340.429
 Russia3925140.641
 Serbia8440.500
 Senegal110110.000
 Slovakia7340.429
 Soviet Union161420.875
 Spain2616100.615
 Turkey12750.583
 Ukraine8440.500
 Unified Team5410.800
 United States696630.956
 Yugoslavia16880.500
 DR Congo7070.000

As of May 1, 2018

Records

CategoryMenWomen
Biggest game score229 points: USA 156–73 Nigeria (2012)190 points: Japan 62–128 Brazil (2004)
Lowest game score27 points: USA 19–8 Canada (1936)100 points: Senegal 32–68 Slovakia (2000)
Biggest margin100 points:
Korea 120–20 Iraq (1948)
China 125–25 Iraq (1948)
66 points:
Japan 62–128 Brazil (2004)
Italy 53–119 Soviet Union (1980)
Games with most overtimes2 overtimes:
Argentina 111–107 Brazil (2016)
Canada 86–83 Russia (2000)
Lithuania 83–81 Croatia (1996)
Australia 109–101 Brazil (1996)
2 overtimes:
Turkey 79–76 Brazil (2016)
Spain 92–80 Italy (1992)
Longest winning streak63 games: USA (1936–72)49 games: USA (1992–2016)
All-time top cumulative scorer1,093 points: Oscar Schmidt (Brazil)575 points: Lauren Jackson (Australia)
All-time top average scorer28.8 points per game: Oscar Schmidt (Brazil)22 points per game: Lara Sanders (Turkey)
Single game scorer55 points Oscar Schmidt (Brazil vs. Spain, 1988)39 points: Evladiya Slavcheva-Stefanova (Bulgaria vs. South Korea, 1988)

As of May 1, 2018

Top career men's scorers

PlayerPoints Scored[10]
Oscar Schmidt1,093
Andrew Gaze789
Pau Gasol623
Wlamir Marques537
Luis Scola525
Manu Ginóbili523
Sergei Belov475
Dražen Dalipagić461
Dražen Petrović461
Ruperto Herrera440

As of May 1, 2018

See also

Notes

  1. https://www.olympic.org/news/tokyo-2020-event-programme-to-see-major-boost-for-female-participation-youth-and-urban-appeal?esi=true
  2. "IOC adds 3-on-3 basketball to 2020 Olympics". NBA.com. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  3. Before They Were Giants
  4. Basketball Hall of Fame – Phog Allen Archived December 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. http://blogs.bu.edu/guidedhistory/russia-and-its-empires/tyler-benson/
  6. https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP80-00810A005600130009-0.pdf
  7. https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP80-00810A005600130009-0.pdf
  8. The O2 Arena was known as the North Greenwich Arena during the games due to Olympics regulations regarding corporate sponsorship of event sites. Similarly, AccorHotels Arena, and Staples Center will use noncommercial names when they host Olympic basketball.
  9. The O2 Arena was known as the North Greenwich Arena during the games due to Olympics regulations regarding corporate sponsorship of event sites. Similarly, AccorHotels Arena and Staples Center will use noncommercial names when they host Olympic basketball.
  10. The International Olympic Committee does not recognize records for basketball, although FIBA does.

References

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