With the Tokyo Olympic Games fast approaching, a number of qualifiers are taking place across the world to determine which countries will be featuring in each sport.
Everyone across the world has been waiting for the Olympics for five years now, with the global pandemic putting the 2020 Olympic Games on hold last summer. Now, the Olympics are within touching distance.
A number of countries will be heading to Tokyo, Japan to take part in the biggest sporting event around the world, in many different sports. With that said, a new sport is being introduced to the Olympics – 3x3 basketball.
What Is 3x3 Basketball?
For those who aren’t quite sure, 3x3 basketball is played on half a court, and is much quicker than the traditional 5x5 game. So, as well as seeing 5x5 basketball in the Olympics, we will now also get to watch 3x3 contested by many countries.
This form of the sport has much faster action than the game we see in the NBA and other pro basketball leagues. With quicker competition, two teams will play over a single 10-minute period and with a 12 second shot clock.
The two teams have the option to shoot one-point and two-point baskets in the 10 minutes. The other major rules in basketball – double movement, travelling – are all still implemented in 3x3. If a team scores 21 points within the distance, they will win the game.
USA Men’s Team Eliminated in Qualifiers
Unfortunately, it’s bad news for the US men’s 3x3 team, who missed out on the chance to play in the Tokyo Olympics. Last weekend, Team USA were beaten by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the tournament. This meant that USA had missed out on one of the three spots available to progress to the big stage.
The defeat was a surprise for many, with Team USA winning the latest 3x3 World Cup in 2019, and ranked No.2 in the world behind Serbia. The upset came as a 21-16 loss to the Netherlands team, who were able to progress to the Olympics later in the qualifiers.
To make matters worse, this loss was the first time that a Team USA basketball side has missed out on an Olympic Games that they have entered. The defending world champions are out, meaning US men’s basketball will only be featured in the traditional 5x5.
USA Women’s Power Through to Olympic Games
On the other hand, the US women’s 3x3 team managed to book their ticket to Tokyo for the summer. Filled with plenty of WNBA experience, Team USA finished in the top three of the qualifying tournament, beating Spain 21-13 in the semi-finals.
At the tournament, the women’s US team went unbeaten – winning all six of their qualifiers. Now, the team is considered the country to beat at the upcoming Olympic Games, which will definitely boost Team USA’s confidence.
Kara Lawson, the women’s head coach, was extremely impressed with her team’s display in the qualifying rounds. Lawson said: “We are going to Tokyo, it is so exciting! These four players represented the United States well. This is a dream come true.”
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Jordan Noble is a writer that really enjoys discussing anything in and around the world of sports. He’s in his element when talking about sports, and has an ever-growing portfolio of sports news, features and reviews. When he’s not writing, you’ll find Jordan playing football – American football, that is.
He knows Manchester United are the biggest club in the world. He says that it’s just straight up facts. He loves a fight, whether that’s inside an octagon, or between the ropes, he’ll be interested.