Basketball at the Summer Olympics

Basketball at the Summer Olympics
Governing body FIBA
Events 2 (men: 1; women: 1)
Games
1896 1900 1904 1908 1912 1920
1924 1928 1932 1936 1948 1952
1956 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976
1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000
2004 2008 2012
Note: demonstration sport years indicated in italics
Medalists

Basketball has been a Summer Olympics sport for men consistently since 1936. Prior to its inclusion as a medal sport, it was held as demonstration event in 1904 and 1932, both in the United States. Women's basketball was played in the Olympics only since 1976.

The United States is by far the most successful nation in Olympic basketball. American men's teams won 13 of 16 tournaments they participated in, including seven successive titles from 1936 to 1968. American women's teams won 6 titles out of 8, including four in a row from 1996 to 2008.

Contents

History

Basketball was invented by the Canadian-American 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.

Early American dominance

Thanks in part to the effort of Phog Allen[1][2] (Kansas Jayhawks collegiate coach), the first Olympic basketball tournament was organized in the 1936 Summer Olympics at Berlin 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. The Soviet Union, that joined the Olympics in 1952, became the Americans' main rival, and was runner-up four successive times from 1952 to 1964. Yugoslavia emerged as a major force in 1968, when they beat the Soviets in the semifinal but lost to the Americans in the final.

70s and 80s

The United States winning streak ended in 1972, when the Soviet Union beat them in the gold-medal game in highly controversial circumstances. The Americans refused to receive their silver medals and they are being kept in IOC possession ever since. The Americans reclaimed the gold medal in 1976, with Yugoslavia 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 in the semifinals and Italy in the final. The United States regained the title in 1984, 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 Americans for the second time in the semifinal, and the Yugoslavs in the gold medal game.

Professional era

In 1989, through the leadership of President Borislav Stanković, FIBA approved the rule that allowed NBA players to compete in international tournaments, including the Olympics. In the next Olympics in 1992, the "Dream Team" won the gold medal with average winning margin of 44 points, and without calling a time out. By this time, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia no longer existed, but their predecessors continued to be among the leading forces. Two newly-indepent counties, Croatia and Lithuania, won the silver and broze medals respectively.

The Americans repeated their victory in 1996 and 2000, but they were not as impressive as in 1992. In 1996, Atlanta was the only host city so far with an NBA team since NBA players were allowed to compete in the Olympics, as Atlanta is home to the Hawks. Serbia and Montenegro was the runner-up in Atlanta, and France in Sydney, with Lithuania winning bronze again on both occasions.

The renewed dominance of the United States was interrupted in 2004 when the Americans suffered their third defeat in Olympic history to Argentina in the semifinals. The Argentines went on to beat Italy in the final and become the fourth team to win the Olympic title.

The United States regained the gold medal in 2008, with Spain as runner-up, and won their first global title since the 2000 Olympics.

Women

Venues

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

Zone Men Women
World Championship 1 1
African championship 1 1
Americas championship 2 1
Asia championship 1 1
Europe championship 2 1
Oceania championship 1 1
World qualifying tournament 3 5
Host Nation 1 1
Total 12 12

Men's tournaments

Year Host Gold medal game Bronze medal game
Gold medalist Score Silver medalist Bronze medalist 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 Olympic flag.svg
Italy

Soviet Union
117–94 Olympic flag.svg
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 Olympic flag.svg
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

Performance by confederation

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

Confederation 1936
Nazi Germany
1948
United Kingdom
1952
Finland
1956
Australia
1960
Italy
1964
Japan
1968
Mexico
1972
West Germany
1976
Canada
1980
Soviet Union
1984
United States
1988
South Korea
1992
Spain
1996
United States
2000
Australia
2004
Greece
2008
China
2012
United Kingdom
2016
Brazil
FIBA Africa 15th–18th 19th 9th–16th -- -- -- 15th 15th 12th 11th 12th 10th 10th 11th 12th 12th 12th
FIBA Americas 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd 1st 5th 1st 3rd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
FIBA Asia 5th 8th 9th–16th 7th 11th 10th 13th 13th 11th 12th 10th 9th 12th 8th 10th 8th 8th
FIBA Europe 4th 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd
FIBA Oceania -- -- -- 12th -- 9th -- 9th 8th 8th 7th 4th 6th 4th 4th 9th 7th

Participating nations

Nation 36
Nazi Germany
48
United Kingdom
52
Finland
56
Australia
60
Italy
64
Japan
68
Mexico
72
West Germany
76
Canada
80
Soviet Union
84
United States
88
South Korea
92
Spain
96
United States
00
Australia
04
Greece
08
China
12
United Kingdom
Years
 Angola A 10th 11th 12th 12th 12th 5
 Argentina 15th 4th 9th 1st 3rd Q 6
 Australia 12th 9th 9th 8th 8th 7th 4th 6th 4th 4th 9th 7th Q 13
 Belgium 19th 11th 17th 3
 Brazil 9th 3rd 6th 6th 3rd 3rd 4th 7th 5th 9th 5th 5th 6th Q 14
 Bulgaria 7th 5th 16th 10th 4
 Canada 2nd 9th 9th 9th 14th 4th 4th 6th 7th 9
 Central African Republic A 10th 1
 Chile 9th 6th 5th 8th 4
 China A A 10th 11th 12th 8th 10th 8th 8th 7
 Chinese TaipeiB 15th 18th 11th 3
 Croatia C 2nd 7th 6th 3
Nation 36
Nazi Germany
48
United Kingdom
52
Finland
56
Australia
60
Italy
64
Japan
68
Mexico
72
West Germany
76
Canada
80
Soviet Union
84
United States
88
South Korea
92
Spain
96
United States
00
Australia
04
Greece
08
China
12
United Kingdom
Years
 Cuba 13th 9th 11th 3rd 7th 6th 6
 Czechoslovakia 9th 7th 9th 5th 8th 6th 9th A 7
 Egypt 15th 19th 9th 16th 12th 12th 12th 7
 Estonia 9th D 1
 Finland 9th 11th 2
 France 19th 2nd 8th 4th 10th 11th 2nd Q 8
 GermanyE 15th 12th 8th 7th 10th 5
 Great Britain 20th Q 2
 Greece 17th 5th 5th 5th 4
 Hungary 16th 9th 9th 13th 4
 India 12th 1
 Iran 14th 11th 2
Nation 36
Nazi Germany
48
United Kingdom
52
Finland
56
Australia
60
Italy
64
Japan
68
Mexico
72
West Germany
76
Canada
80
Soviet Union
84
United States
88
South Korea
92
Spain
96
United States
00
Australia
04
Greece
08
China
12
United Kingdom
Years
 Iraq 22nd 1
 Ireland 23rd 1
 Israel A 17th 1
 Italy 7th 17th 17th 4th 5th 8th 4th 5th 2nd 5th 5th 2nd 12
 Japan 9th 10th 15th 10th 14th 11th 6
 Korea A 8th 14th 16th 14th 9th 12th 6
 Latvia 15th D 1
 Lithuania D 3rd 3rd 3rd 4th 4th 5
 Mexico 3rd 4th 9th 12th 12th 5th 10th 7
 Morocco A 16th 1
 New Zealand 11th 10th 2
 Panama 12th 1
Nation 36
Nazi Germany
48
United Kingdom
52
Finland
56
Australia
60
Italy
64
Japan
68
Mexico
72
West Germany
76
Canada
80
Soviet Union
84
United States
88
South Korea
92
Spain
96
United States
00
Australia
04
Greece
08
China
12
United Kingdom
Years
 Peru 8th 10th 15th 3
 Philippines 5th 12th 9th 7th 11th 13th 13th 7
 Poland 4th 7th 6th 6th 10th 7th 6
 Puerto Rico A 13th 4th 9th 6th 9th 7th 8th 10th 6th 9
 Romania 17th 1
 Russia A D F 8th 9th 2
 Senegal A 15th 15th 11th 3
 Serbia and MontenegroH G 2nd 6th 11th 3
 Singapore A 13th I 1
 Soviet Union A 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 3rd 1st 3rd 3rd 1st F A 9
 Spain 14th 7th 11th 4th 2nd 8th 9th 9th 7th 2nd Q 11
 Sweden 10th 1
Nation 36
Nazi Germany
48
United Kingdom
52
Finland
56
Australia
60
Italy
64
Japan
68
Mexico
72
West Germany
76
Canada
80
Soviet Union
84
United States
88
South Korea
92
Spain
96
United States
00
Australia
04
Greece
08
China
12
United Kingdom
Years
 Switzerland 9th 21st 17th 3
 Thailand A 15th 1
 Tunisia Q 1
 Turkey 19th 17th 2
Unified Team A 4th A 1
 United States 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd* 1st 1st 3rd 1st 1st 1st 3rd 1st Q 17
 Uruguay 6th 5th 3rd 3rd 8th 8th 6th 7
 Venezuela 11th 1
 Yugoslavia 6th 7th 2nd 5th 2nd 1st 3rd 2nd A 8
Nations 21 23 23 15 16 16 16 16 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12

Notes

A NOC was not member of IOC
B as Republic of China China from 1936–56
C part of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia from 1936–1988
D competed as part of Soviet Union Soviet Union from 1952–88
E as West Germany West Germany from 1968–88
F part of Unified Team in 1992
G now Serbia Serbia, as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia FR Yugoslavia from 1992–2002
H part of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia from 1936–1988
I part of Malaysia Malaysia in 1964

Unofficial or demonstration tournament winners

Women's tournaments

Year Host Gold medal game Bronze medal game
Gold medalist Score Silver medalist Bronze medalist Score Fourth place
1976
details
Montreal
Soviet Union
No playoffs
United States

Bulgaria
No playoffs
Poland
1980
details
Moscow
Soviet Union
104–73
Bulgaria

Yugoslavia
68–65
Hungary
1984
details
Los Angeles
United States
85–55
Korea

China
63–57
Canada
1988
details
Seoul
United States
77–70
Yugoslavia

Soviet Union
68–53
Australia
1992
details
Barcelona Olympic flag.svg
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
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

Performance by confederation

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

Confederation 1976
Canada
1980
Soviet Union
1984
United States
1988
South Korea
1992
Spain
1996
United States
2000
Australia
2004
Greece
2008
China
2012
United Kingdom
2016
Brazil
FIBA Africa -- -- -- -- -- 12th 12th 11th 12th
FIBA Americas 2nd 5th 1st 1st 3rd 1st 1st 1st 1st
FIBA Asia 5th -- 2nd 6th 2nd 7th 4th 9th 4th
FIBA Europe 1st 1st 6th 2nd 1st 4th 5th 3rd 3rd
FIBA Oceania -- -- 5th 4th -- 3rd 2nd 2nd 2nd

Participating nations

Nation 76
Canada
80
Soviet Union
84
United States
88
South Korea
92
Spain
96
United States
00
Australia
04
Greece
08
China
12
United Kingdom
Years
 Australia 5th 4th 6th 3rd 2nd 2nd 2nd Q 8
 Brazil 7th 2nd 3rd 4th 11th 5
 Belarus B C 6th 1
 Bulgaria 3rd 2nd 5th 3
 Canada 6th 4th 11th 10th 4
 China A 3rd 6th 2nd 9th 9th 4th Q 7
 Cuba 5th 4th 6th 9th 4
 Czech Republic D 5th 7th 2
 France 5th 1
 Great Britain Q 1
 Greece 7th 1
 Hungary 4th 1
Nation 76
Canada
80
Soviet Union
84
United States
88
South Korea
92
Spain
96
United States
00
Australia
04
Greece
08
China
12
United Kingdom
Years
 Italy 6th 8th 8th 3
 Japan 5th 7th 10th 3
 Korea 2nd 7th 10th 4th 12th 8th 6
 Latvia B 9th 1
 Mali 12th 1
 New Zealand 11th 8th 10th 3
 Nigeria 11th 1
 Poland 4th 8th 1
 Russia B C 5th 6th 3rd 3rd Q 5
 Senegal 12th 1
 Slovak Republic D 7th 4
 Soviet Union 1st 1st 3rd C A 3
Nation 76
Canada
80
Soviet Union
84
United States
88
South Korea
92
Spain
96
United States
00
Australia
04
Greece
08
China
12
United Kingdom
Years
 Spain 5th 6th 5th 3
 Ukraine B C 4th 4
Unified Team A 1st A 1
 United States 2nd 1st 1st 3rd 1st 1st 1st 1st Q 9
 Yugoslavia 3rd 6th 2nd A 3
 DR CongoE 12th 1
Nations 6 6 6 8 8 12 12 12 12 12

Medal Table

Total

Countries ranked by total medals won (men's and women's).

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States 19 2 3 24
2  Soviet Union 4 4 4 12
3  Yugoslavia 1 5 2 8
4  Argentina 1 0 1 2
5  Unified Team (EUN) 1 0 0 1
6  Australia (AUS) 0 3 1 4
7  France 0 2 0 2
 Italy 0 2 0 2
 Spain 0 2 0 2
10  Brazil 0 1 4 5
11  Bulgaria (BUL) 0 1 1 2
 China (CHN) 0 1 1 2
13  Canada 0 1 0 1
 Croatia 0 1 0 1
 South Korea (KOR) 0 1 0 1
16  Lithuania 0 0 3 3
17  Uruguay 0 0 2 2
 Russia (RUS) 0 0 2 2
19  Cuba 0 0 1 1
 Mexico 0 0 1 1

Medal table, men

Top finishes of countries that played in the men's tournament of Olympic basketball.
 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States 13 1 2 16
2  Soviet Union 2 4 3 9
3  Yugoslavia 1 4 1 6
4  Argentina 1 0 1 2
5  France 0 2 0 2
 Italy 0 2 0 2
 Spain 0 2 0 2
8  Canada 0 1 0 1
 Croatia 0 1 0 1
10  Brazil 0 0 3 3
 Lithuania 0 0 3 3
12  Uruguay 0 0 2 2
13  Cuba 0 0 1 1
 Mexico 0 0 1 1

Medal table, women

Top finishes of countries that played in women's Olympic basketball

.

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 6 1 1 8
2  Soviet Union (URS) 2 0 1 3
3  Unified Team (EUN) 1 0 0 1
4  Australia (AUS) 0 3 1 4
5  Brazil (BRA) 0 1 1 2
 Bulgaria (BUL) 0 1 1 2
 China (CHN) 0 1 1 2
 Yugoslavia (YUG) 0 1 1 2
9  South Korea (KOR) 0 1 0 1
10  Russia (RUS) 0 0 2 2

Notes

A NOC was not member of IOC
B competed as part of Soviet Union Soviet Union from 1952–88
C part of Unified Team in 1992
D part of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia from 1920–92
E as Zaire Zaire from 1984–96

See also

Notes

References


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