The Second Summer Youth Olympic Games August 16-28 in Nanjing, China was a tremendous success, with the 3x3 basketball making its second appearance. The 2010 Singapore YOG established 3x3 as an official Youth Olympic sport, and it has exploded in popularity to become one of the most popular events at the games. Two new individual events were added this year as a statement to 3x3 basketball’s growing prominence - the Men’s Dunk contest and the Women’s Shoot Out.
This high profile international event just concluded in Asia on Sport Court Power Game™ basketball courts, and an additional event court was set up outside the famous Wanda shopping mall for a day of fun basketball exhibitions open to the public. All were sponsored by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Here is an insider's view from our own Barry King to attended the event!
International Games Security
The first thing you notice when entering the stadium is the high level of security, as tight as any international airport starting with micro-chip photo ID passes, bag and body scanners, removal of all liquids - and that was for the organizers! Once inside, there seemed to be more people working for security than players!
Games were played in the state of the art Wutaishan stadium, where 3 Sport Court PowerGame half-courts were installed, two for the games and a 3rd warm-up court. The retractable roof was an excellent feature, allowing for the warm night breeze when open and a quick cover during the several down-pours.
Youth Olympic Games Teams
Forty three-or-four person men and women’s teams battled it out during eight days of international basketball excitement! The age of the players is 16-18, yet many would look right at home on college teams. The international comradery was remarkable, as most of the teams had met before in FIBA 3x3 championship games elsewhere, and all teams were staying together at the Olympic Village. It was fascinating to watch teams like the 3 women Team Guam go up against un-defeated USA. These girls were dwarfed by the US team, yet played with sweat and blood and made the US work for every shot! Watching the teams interact with each other between games was witnessing international relations at its finest!
Youth Olympic Games Competition
There were so many great games and so much talent that a game by game review would be worthwhile. But to summarize, the men’s final came down to a white-knuckle Overtime, when Lithuania hit a two pointer to grab the Gold from France. The always strong Argentina took the bronze, edging by Russia 13-10.
The USA women’s team dominated, wining all 9 games by the 21 point rule. The Netherlands fielded an excellent team taking the silver, with Spain squeaking past Hungary 12-11 to take the bronze.
Sport Court Basketball Courts
The Sport Court Power Game™ courts performed brilliantly, and looked great on TV and live, securing our position as the greatest court company on the planet. The FIBA organizers and the IOC were equally delighted with the courts.
Awards on the Sport Court 3x3 Courts
The wildly popular Yao Ming along with the IOC President Thomas Bach presented the medals at the award ceremony. Seeing these two icons standing on Sport Court PowerGame capping up one of the most exciting venues of the YOG, it’s shocking that 3x3 did not make it into the 2016 Rio Olympics. That will certainly be the last Olympics that does not have 3x3 Basketball!
To continue growing the sport of 3x3 basketball, FIBA set-up an interactive fan experience in the Wanda mall to keep fans engaged in the sport of 3x3 basketball while they were watching the world's best.
From witnessing firsthand the remarkable global talent, edge of the seat fast and furious games, and frenzied spectator enthusiasm to 3x3 Basketball, it is an honor to be a part of the Sport Court team that plays such an important role in developing the sport!