Latvia’s men and the United States’ women were crowned first Olympic champions in 3×3 basketball on Wednesday with victories over Russian teams.
Karlis Lasmanis scored the final two of his leading 10 points from a distance to clinch a 21-18 victory for Latvia with 26.7 seconds left in the 10-minute game time.
He got gold together with veteran Nauris Miezis, Edgars Krumins, who limped off injured shortly before the end, and Agnis Cavars in the exciting new discipline, with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in attendance at Aomi Sports Park.
Play takes place on one half court with a team winning if leading after 10 minutes or reaching 21 points first.
The Russians led for long periods after shocking world ranking leaders and record World Cup winners Serbia in the semi-finals but eventully had to settle for silver. Serbia took bronze 21-10 over Belgium.
On the women’s side the American team of Kelsey Plum, Jacquelin Young, Stefanie Dolson and Allisha Grey got gold 18-15 over the Russian representatives, never troubled after racing off to a quick 6-1 lead.
“Basketball runs deep in the USA and to pull this off and win gold is incredible,” Dolson said. “It just feels incredible. We achieved our goal.”
China won the bronze medal match 16-14 against France, with a French turnover with three seconds left deciding the affair.