June 21, 2021
(Reuters) – Focus on basketball at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:
THE ABSOLUTE BASICS
* Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be comprised of 12 teams divided into three groups of four which play a round-robin.
* The top two teams from each group, along with the two best third-place teams will advance to the quarter-final round.
* The knockout format continues with the semi-finals and gold medal game.
HOW MANY MEDALS?
There are two sets of medals, one for women and one for men.
WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?
Saitama Super Arena located in Saitama City. It is one of Japan’s largest multi-sport facilities with a seating capacity of 21,000.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?
The men’s tournament runs from July 25 to Aug. 7 with the women’s taking place from July 26 to Aug. 8.
WHAT HAPPENED IN RIO?
Same old, same old. Both the U.S. men and women went unbeaten to win gold. It marked the sixth straight gold for the American women and sixth in seven Games for the men.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN TOKYO?
More of the same. The U.S. women look particularly dominant, drawing from a massive WNBA talent pool that includes Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart, widely regarded as the best player in the world, and WNBA most valuable player A’ja Wilson.
With the NBA Finals running into late July it is likely some of the top men will not make themselves available for the Games. Still, they will have more than enough talent to assemble another ‘Dream Team’ that will be a nightmare for the opposition to handle.
3×3 basketball, played on a half-court with three players on each side, makes it’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.
WELL FANCY THAT
Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert, who was dubbed sport’s ‘Patient Zero’ after he tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020 and triggered a shutdown of the entire NBA, was named to France’s squad and is expected to be in Tokyo, which has been under a state of emergency due to the virus.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Men’s basketball became part of the Olympic programme in 1936 while women made their debut at the 1976 Montreal Games.
The United States and Argentina (2004) are the only nations still in existence who have won an Olympic basketball gold, the others being Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and a ‘Unified Team’ of former Soviet Republics.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Peter Rutherford)