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Sports Then and Now



Can Spain End USA’s Olympic Basketball Domination? 4

Posted on June 01, 2012 by John Ogalbe

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol will be playing on different teams during the London Olympics.

Since basketball was first included as an Olympic Games event at Berlin, in 1936, the United States has been very much the dominant force. They won every gold medal up to 1972, when the Soviet Union finally beat them in Munich.

However, since then, it has been mostly a case of ‘normal service resumed’, with just two instances of bronze (Seoul 1988 and Athens 2004) tarnishing the otherwise brilliant glow emitted from the gold cabinet.

None of this comes as a surprise, when you consider that the NBA is the strongest basketball association in the world. Indeed, in the 1990’s, the USA were able to call on the services of none other than the legendary Michael Jordan, to help secure their rightful place at the top of the tree.

They can be beaten, as Argentina proved at Athens 2004, but there was no chance of a repeat shock, four years ago, when LA Lakers player, Kobe Bryant, led the USA to gold in Beijing. He is now in his thirties though, and that will give hope to the other 11 teams in the competition, notably, Spain, who have become a real force in world basketball of late. They have their own talisman in Pau Gasol. Read the rest of this entry →

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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