Latvia wins gold in inaugural Olympic men's 3x3 basketball

The United States women defeated the Russian Olympic Committee team on Wednesday to claim the first ever Olympic gold medal in 3x3 basketball.

U.S. defeat ROC in women's final to top podium in sports' inaugural Olympic debut

Karlis Lasmanis celebrates during Latvia's 21-18 win over ROC to capture gold in the men's Olympic 3v3 basketball final on Wednesday. (Andrew Boyers/Reuters)

Latvia's Karlis Lasmanis drained a shot from behind the arc to close the game and seal a gold-medal-winning 21-18 victory over the Russians in the debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Olympics.

Lasmanis spotted up and swished the shot and then was dogpiled by his three Latvian teammates. They will bring home the country's first medal of the Tokyo Games.

WATCH | Latvian men win 3x3 basketball thriller to take gold:

American women win gold in Olympic debut of 3x3 basketball

4 months ago
The United States held on to beat ROC 18-15 to win the first-ever gold medal in 3x3 basketball. 1:27

The first Olympic gold medallists in 3x3 basketball were crowned in Tokyo on Wednesday, with the United States victorious in the women's division and Latvia taking the men's top honours, both coming with wins over Russian teams.

Stacked U.S. squad takes gold

The U.S. team, stacked with WNBA talent, defeated the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 18-15 at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo. Stefanie Dolson of the Chicago Sky led in scoring with 7 points.

"Basketball runs deep in the USA and to pull this off and win gold is incredible," Dolson said. "It just feels incredible. We achieved our goal."

WATCH | The U.S. holds on to beat ROC, claim 1st-ever gold medal in 3x3 basketball:

Sport Explainer: 3x3 Basketball

5 months ago
3x3 basketball is a new Olympic discipline at Tokyo 2020. Get to know the sport. 2:43

Capping a back-and-forth match, Karlis Lasmanis hit a two-point jumper to seal the men's victory for Latvia over the ROC, 21-18.

The China women's team prevailed over top-seeded France 16-14 to claim the bronze medal. Wang Lili was scintillating, delivering 9 points toward her team's win.

The men's bronze went to Serbia after it dispatched Belgium 21-10. Serbia had been heavily favoured for gold, led by Dusan Domovic Bulut, the first real superstar of the new sport.

"It's a medal. We finished the tournament with a win," Bulut said. "Better than losing in the final, no?"

The team sailed through the pool stage with a perfect record, but could not get into a groove in the semi-final against ROC and lost by a surprisingly large margin, 10-21.

The U.S. celebrate winning gold after defeating ROC 18-15 in the women's Olympic 3v3 basketball final on Wednesday. (Andrew Nelles/USA TODAY Sports)

The U.S. women had been seeded low, as the squad of WNBA players had no record together on the 3x3 circuit. But their pro talent showed through, dispatching every team in the pool round except Japan.

From the start, Latvia was a favourite for a medal, with a team featuring some of the world's top-ranked players. A lackluster showing in the round-robin tournament cast doubt on their medal hopes, but the team gelled in the knockout stage.

WATCH | Sport Explainer: 3x3 basketball:

Along with skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing, 3x3 has been added to these Games in an effort to broaden the spectacle's youth appeal. French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. first lady Jill Biden cheered on their countrywomen on the first day of the tournament.

With its debut at the Summer Olympics, 3x3 looked to boost its global profile as a faster-paced, more compact alternative to traditional basketball, with hip-hop music played by DJs throughout games to enhance the youth appeal. 

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