Did you know …
Montreal (Quebec, Canada), one of the most beautiful and modern places in the Western Hemisphere, hosted the First Women’s Olympic Basketball Tournament in 1976. Six countries competed for the gold medal, including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Japan. The international match was won by the women’s national team of the Soviet Union (now Russia). Just a year earlier, the Soviet team came in first place at the VII World Championship in Cali, Colombia (South America) by beating Japan in the gold medal match. Meanwhile, on July 23, 1976, America claimed second place in the multisport event after losing to the USSR (led by its international star Uljana Semjonova) 112-77, having earned the right to compete in the XXIII Olympiad by winning the first. Qualifying tournament for the FIBA Women’s Basketball Olympic Games in Hamilton (Ontario, Canada). The 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 US team began its pre-Olympic preparation after winning the VI Pan American Cup in Mexico City in October 1975.
Under Semjonova’s leadership, the USSR, the host nation, won the Moscow Olympic Tournament in 1980, 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 Uljana Semjonova was the most prominent basketball player in Moscow ’80. Over the next several years, the 7-foot-1, 284-pound Semjonova was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Maryland, the first female player from the former USSR to accomplish that feat.
Los Angeles 1984
For the first time, the US women’s basketball team captured the Olympic Championship in Southern California. The People’s Republic of China collected the silver medal. The bronze medal went to the Republic of Korea; Eastern European teams did not participate in the 1984 Olympiad due to the Moscow boycott. On the way to the Los Angeles Games, the United States team, with outstanding 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, the United States defeated Cuba 100-82 (43-38) to win the Pan American gold medal. A few weeks ago they were close to winning the FIBA World Cup on Brazilian soil.
On October 29, 1988, in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, the United States women’s team took gold in the Olympic test, after finishing first during the 1984 Games in Los Angeles (California). In the final, they defeated Yugoslavia 77-70 (42-36). However, the “most exciting match” was when the United States, led by All-Star Teresa Edwards, beat the Soviet Union 102-88 (50-39) on October 27 (semi-finals). The United 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 had won the world tournament in the Russian capital Moscow. In the second half of the 20th century, American Edwards made history when she captured four golds in the Summer Games from the 1980s to the early 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 Olympic history.
Atlanta 1996 Games
A miracle happened in Atlanta 1996! Despite suffering a bloody civil war, where more than four million people were massacred (and thousands of girls were raped), incredibly the African Republic of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo / DRC) ranked as one of the 12 best teams. World Cup at the 26th Olympiad in the United States, setting an example for several Third World countries, from Peru and the Philippines to India and Brunei Darussalam. It was undoubtedly the “most memorable moment in Zaire’s sporting history.” After being supported by Dikembe Mutumbo, a Congo-born American star player, the African team headed to Atlanta. From an Olympic perspective, the Zaire team should be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The 2004 Olympic Tournament was won by the United States of America, followed by Australia (silver medal), Russia (bronze), Brazil (4th), Czech Republic (5th), Spain (6th), Greece (7th) ), New Zealand (8th). ), the People’s Republic of China (9th), Japan (10th place), Nigeria (11th) and South Korea (12th). In the Greek capital of Athens, the United States captured its third gold medal for the third time in a row – the most Olympic basketball tournament victories by a women’s team. Interestingly, Nigerian basketball player Mfon Udoka was the second best scorer in the championship with 21.7 points.