History of Basketball at the Olympics

Some sports are more popular than others, for example, basketball. It is one of the more popular sports in the world, especially in the United States. Europe also loves basketball, though football is a bit more favored there. Basketball is also a popular punters’ sport. Some punters prefer socializing and brick and mortar bookmakers while others prefer the simplicity of online sportsbooks like Marathonbet

Regardless, when the Olympics come, every four years, people cheer their country’s basketball team, as well as other teams and athletes. Basketball has had quite a history at the Olympics, one which seems a bit one sided at first glance. It is more than one sided. Here is a brief history of basketball at the Olympics.

Basketball’s Olympic Origin Story

Basketball wasn’t included in the list of Olympic sports from the very starts, albeit, not many sports were. Basketball saw its official Olympic entry in 1936, which took place in Berlin. Given that there were no Olympic games for 12 years following that one, due to World War II, the next basketball entry was in 1948 in London. The game had a brief showing at the 1904 Olympics, but other than that, basketball took a back seat to other sports until 1936. With that in mind, men’s basketball was established as an official sport in 1936 and it saw a couple of countries take the medals.

US Basketball Run

With multiple countries competing for the Olympic medal, only some countries actually won and as it often happens with most sports, there are a couple of very dominant countries and some which are great competitors and rare winners. The US won 7 gold medals in a row, from 1936 to 1968. During that time, they beat Canada, France, Yugoslavia once and the Soviet Union 4 times. This contrasts the FIBA World Cup, which was won by the Soviet Union. They did, however, enter a slump period.

1972 until 1992 – A Small Slump

In 1972, the US lost to the Soviet Union which made a lot of people unhappy, as you might expect it during that Cold War period. In 1976, however, they won once more, beating Yugoslavia in the finals. In 1980, they weren’t even in the finals, and Yugoslavia took home a gold medal. In 1984, the US won another gold medal, beating Spain this time. The following Olympics, 1988, saw the Soviet Union take home their last gold medal (the Soviet Union was no more since 1991). Then, the US came back swinging in 1992.

Another US Miracle Run (Except 2004)

The US started another rampage and took home multiple medals from 1992 up until the latest 2016 Olympic games. In 1992 they beat Croatia to take home a medal, in 1996, they beat FR Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). In 2000, they beat France to take home another gold medal. 2004 saw the US win a bronze medal, while Argentina won a gold medal. In the next 3 Olympics, in 2008, 2012 and 2016, the US won against Spain twice and Serbia once, taking home more gold medals. 

Men’s basketball at the Olympics is a story of the United States winning 23 gold medals and 28 in total, followed by the Soviet Union’s 4 golds and 12 in total. The following Olympics will hopefully see new challengers arise to take home that gold.