Tonight, the undefeated (5 – 0) U.S. men’s basketball team will take on Serbia in the last competition for a gold medal of the 2016 Olympic Games. Most expect the Americans will win handily, just as they have in the 14 out of the 17 Olympics they’ve participated in.
The first time Serbia and the U.S. met back in Group A, the U.S. team won with a final score of 94-91 – hardly the kind of confidence-inspiring lead you’d expect from a superpower. The U.S. team’s performance throughout the tournament has ranged from underwhelming to downright embarrassing. While one can never entirely discard the possibility that the United States will make some terrible blunder and lose, especially on the world stage at a truly global event that somewhat resembles the UN and claims to stand for universal values like equality through the transcendence of divisions and goods sportsmanship, as opposed to American exceptionalism and the use of asymmetrical force and sophisticated technology to neutralize opponents, the U.S. men’s basketball team is likely to beat the Serbian team, though perhaps by a smaller margin than one might expect.
We’ll occasionally be updating this blog with commentary and information about the game, as well giving you a feel for the mood here on the ground in Belgrade.
When Yugoslavia Won the Gold Medal
Yugoslavia won the Olympic gold medal in men’s basketball in 1980. Before then, the distinction had been the exclusive property of the superpowers. Yugoslavia was the first country other than the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. to win the gold. The playing field for that particular game wasn’t exactly level in 1980, however, as the U.S. chose to boycott the games, which were held in Moscow, to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
20:43 CET National Anthems:
20:50 CET: The last time the U.S. men’s team did not win the Olympic gold medal for basketball was in 2004, when they lost to Argentina in a result that shocked the world.
21:12 CET: Yugoslavia wins the gold in 1980. The big sleazy mustache era.
Serbia – 29
US – 52
Thank you for joining us for that bit of fun. Serbia and all Balkan teams did quite well.