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Olympic Facts – Women’s Basketball Olympic Tournament
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Montreal (Quebec, Canada), one of the most beautiful and modern places in the Western Hemisphere, hosted the first women’s basketball Olympic tournament in 1976. Six countries competed for the gold medal, including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Japan. The international encounter was won by the women’s national team of the Soviet Union (today’s Russia). Just a year earlier, the Soviet team had placed first at the VII Global Championship in Cali, Colombia (South America), defeating Japan in the gold medal match. Meanwhile, on July 23, 1976, America claimed second place in the multi-sport event after losing to the USSR (led by its international star Ulyana Semyonova) 112-77 to earn the right to compete in the XXIII Olympics. FIBA Olympic Women’s Basketball Qualifying Tournament in Hamilton (Ontario, Canada). Silver medalists were Lusia Harris, Cindy Brogdon, Susan Rojcewicz, Ann Meyers, Julienne Simpson, Patricia Head, Mary Anne O’Connor, Patricia Roberts, Gail Marquis, Nancy Lieberman, Charlotte Lewis and Nancy Dunkle. The American team began pre-Olympic training after winning the VI. Pan American Cup in Mexico City in October 1975.
Under Semenov, the USSR won the 1980 Moscow Olympic tournament as the host nation, followed by Bulgaria (silver medal), Yugoslavia (bronze), Hungary (4th), Cuba (5th) and Italy (6th). It was the second Olympic victory for the USSR (also known as the Soviet Union during the Cold War). On the other hand, Latvian giant Ulyana Semyonova was the most outstanding basketball player in Moscow ’80. In the following years, the 7-foot, 284-pound Semyonova was inducted into the Springfield (Maryland) Basketball Hall of Fame, the first player from the former USSR to do so.
Los Angeles 1984
For the first time ever, the US women’s basketball team captured the Olympic championship in Southern California. The silver medal went to the People’s Republic of China. The bronze medal went to the Republic of Korea; Eastern European teams did not participate in the 1984 Olympics due to the Moscow boycott. On its way to the games in Los Angeles, the US team – with notable athletes such as Janice Lawrence, Cheryl Miller and Lynette Woodard – won the IX Pan American Sports Games on Venezuelan soil in August 1983. In Venezuela, America defeated Cuba 100-82 (43-38) , to win the Pan American gold medal. A few weeks ago, they came close to winning the FIBA World Championship on Brazilian soil.
On October 29, 1988, in the South Korean capital of Seoul, the US women’s team won gold in the Olympic competition after finishing in first place at the 1984 games in Los Angeles (California). In the final they beat Yugoslavia 77:70 (42:36). However, the “most exciting game” was when America, led by its star player Teresa Edwards, beat the Soviet Union 102-88 (50-39) on October 27 (semi). The States won the Olympic trophy with the following world-class players: Suzanne McConnell, Cynthia Cooper, Jennifer Gillom, Katrina McClaim, Andrea Lloyd, Victoria Bullett, Bridgette Gordon, Teresa Weatherspoon, Anne Donovan, Cynthia Brown, Mary Ethridge and Miss Edwards. Two years ago, in 1986, they won a worldwide tournament in the Russian capital of Moscow. In the second half of the 20th century, American Edwards made history by winning four golds at the Summer Games from the 1980s to the beginning of the 2000s: Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. Uljana Semjonova (Latvia), Hortencia Fatima Marcari (Brazil) and Edwards are considered the most famous players in the history of the Olympic Games.
Atlanta Games 1996
A miracle happened in Atlanta 1996! Despite a bloody civil war in which over four million people were killed (and thousands of girls were raped), the African Republic of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo / DRC) incredibly qualified as one of the top 12 teams in the world at the 26th Olympiad in the United States. which sets an example for several Third World countries, from Peru and the Philippines to India and Brunei Darussalam. Without a doubt, it was “the most memorable moment in Zairean sports history”. After receiving support from Dikembe Mutumbo, the Congolese-born American star player, the African team went to Atlanta. From an Olympian’s point of view, Zaire’s team should be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The 2004 Olympic tournament was won by the United States, followed by Australia (silver medal), Russia (bronze), Brazil (4th), Czech Republic (5th), Spain (6th), Greece (7th), New Zealand (8th), People’s Republic of China (9th), Japan (10th), Nigeria (11th) and South Korea (12th). In the Greek capital of Athens, the States won their third gold medal for the third time in a row – the most wins by a women’s team in an Olympic basketball tournament. Curiously, Nigerian basketball player Mfon Udoka was the second best scorer of the championship with 21.7 points.
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