By Laurent-Jude Boisrond-Canal
There will be roughly 10,500 athletes from 206 countries, participating in 28 sports, 42 disciplines, and 306 events over the course of 21 days during the Rio Olympics Games. These Olympic games will be the first held in South America, and only the third time the games will be played in the southern hemisphere after Melbourne’s 1956 games and Sydney’s 2000 Olympic games. Rio was selected over Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago.
The Haitian Times will take a look at the men’s basketball and soccer games. Those sports are two of the most popular ones in the world and the matches are highly anticipated. This week, we will focus on basketball.
The teams are divided into two groups of six countries, with each team playing every team in their group twice.Two points are awarded for a victory, one for a loss. The top four teams per group qualify for the quarter-finals.
United States: Double Olympics and World Champion is naturally the favorite to repeat as champions. The USA team is made up of superstars from the NBA, despite some top players sitting out the tournament.
Spain: The European champions, led by Marc and Pau Gasol will be a serious contender for the title. Spain got a good crew with talented players like Nikolas Mirotić Serge Ibaka and Sergio Gomez. After it won the Continental Tournament they are upbeat about will want to continue in that way.
France: It will be the last tournament for Tony Parker as he tries to make his dream of winning a gold medal a reality. France has a solid team with players like Nando de Colo, the Euroleague MVP and NBA players Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum to help Parker realize his dream.
The Other Teams:
Qualification : Host Country
Olympics Participations : 14
Best performance : Bronze Medal (1948, 1960, 1964)
Major Players : Anderson Varejao (Golden State Warriors), Leandra Barbosa(Phoenix Suns), Marcelino Huertas (LA Lakers), Nene (Houston Rockets)
Qualification : Participation to FIBA Americas Championship Final
Olympics Participations : 6
Best performance : winner (2004)
Major Players : Facundo Campazzo (Murcia), Emmanuel Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), Andres Nucioni (Real Madrid), Luis Scola (Toronto Raptors)
The last competition for Scola and the Ginobilis the only three players from the Athena Golden Medal.
Qualification : FIBA Oceania Champion
Olympics Participations : 13
Best performance : Semifinalist (1988, 1996, 2000)
Major Players : Andrew Bogut (Dallas Mavericks), Matthew Dellavedova (Milwaukee Bucks), Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)
It will be the twelfth articipation straight for The Boomers in Olympics Games this tram boosted by the NBA champ Dellavedova is always difficult to play but no enough to pretend to podium. Bogut is uncertain (injured on knee)
Qualification : FIBA Asian Champion
Olympics Participations : 10
Best performance : (1995, 2004, 2008)
Major Players : Guo Ailun (Liaoning), Wang Zhelin (Fujian), Yi Jianlian (Guangdong), Zhou Qi (Xinjiang)
China will play its ninth Olympics straight without real hope of winning a medal. Every player from China plays in the Chinese league.
Qualification : Win Qualification tournament (Serbia)
Olympics Participations : 3
Best performance : Silver Medal (1992)
Major Players : Bojan Bogdanovic (Brooklyn Nets), Dario Saric (Philadelphia 76ers), Krunoslav Simon (Milan), Roko-Leni Ukic (Cantu/Italy)
Led by Bogdanovic and Saric the Serbians defeat Italy (84-78 O.T.) in the final Serbia will rely on the same duo to try make something in Rio.
Qualification : Win Qualification tournament (Philippines)
Olympics Participations : 8
Best performance : Silver Medal (1948, 2000)
Major Players : Tony Parker (ex- San Antonio Spurs) Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets) Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) Nando De Colo (CSKA Moscow/ Euroleague MVP & MVP Finals)
It will be the last tournament for Tony Parker in his career the last chance for his dream have a gold medal so he will do everything to bring the title in France.
Qualification : FIBA European Championship Finalist
Olympics Participations : 6
Best performance : Bronze Medal (1992, 1996, 2000)
Major Players : Mantas Kalneitis (Milan) Mindaugas Kuzminkas (New York Knicks) Jonas Macuilis (Real Madrid) Jonas Valanciunas(Toronto Raptors)
Qualification : FIBA Africa Champion
Olympics Participations : 1
Best performance : 10′ (2012)
Major Players : Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors) Shane Lawal (Barcelona) Al-Faruq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers)
The African champion will have for principal goal to figure Best than the London’s Olympics where they finish at the tenth position. Nigeria usually plays a physical brand of basketball and is expected to continue the physical play with Ezeli’s appearance.
Qualification : Win Qualifications tournament (Serbia)
Olympics Participations :3 (without Yugoslavia)
Best performance : Silver Medal (1996)
Major Players : Bogdan Bogdanovic (Fenerbahçe Istanbul/TUR), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets), Nikola Kalinic (Fenerbahçe Istanbul/TUR), Milos Teodosic (CSKA Moscou/RUS)
Not qualified for the two last Olympics, the Serbians are now back with Teodosic on guard and Jokic (MVP of qualification tournament) on power forward/Center they have two real creative players.
Qualification : FIBA European Champion
Olympics Participations : 11
Best performance : Silver Medal (2008, 2012)
Major Players : Pau Gasol (San Antonio Spurs) Marc Gasol (Sacramento Kings) Serge Ibaka (Orlando Magic) Sergio Gomez (Philadelphia 76ers)
The European champion led by Gasol brothers will be a serious pretender for the title. Spain got a good crew with talented players like Nikolas Mirotić Serge Ibaka or Sergio Gomez after won the continental tournament they will want to continue in that way.
Qualification : FIBA World Cup Champion
Olympics Participations : 17
Best performance : Golden Medal (1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1976, 1984, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012)
Major Players : Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors) Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors) Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
Double Olympics and World Champion in title is naturally the favorites to his own succussion same without the MVP Stephen Curry and the MVP finals LeBron James.
Qualification : FIBA Americas Champion
Olympics Participations : 1
Best performance : 11′ (1992)
Major Players : Nestor Colmenares (Guaros), John Cox (Bucaneros), Gregory Vargas (Nancy/Venezuela), Greivis Vasquez (Milwaukee Bucks)
The surprised team of this Olympics, Venezuelan won FIBA Americas Championship where the United States didn’t participate. All players except Vasquez play in Venezuela. However, they are champions for a reason: They are talented.