Smith College physical education director Senda Berenson taught basketball to students in the winter of 1892. The college held its first women’s college basketball championship game on March 22, 1893 and 84 years later females competed in the sport in the Olympics. Basketball for men in the competition began in 1936.
In the short history of women’s basketball in the Olympics only three teams have won the gold medal. The Soviet Union took the first top medal in 1976 and again in 1980. The United States won in 1984, 1988, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. The Unified Team, a mix of twelve former Soviet republics, won the gold in 1992.
Australia won the silver in the last three competitions and the bronze in 1996. Other teams that earned medals in the Olympics include Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Korea, China, Brazil and post-Soviet Russia.
The U.S., along with 65 other nations, boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The Soviet Union and Hungary boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
|Year||Host||Gold medal game||Bronze medal game|
|1976||Montreal||Soviet Union||No playoffs||USA||Bulgaria||No playoffs||Poland|
*In 1976 the competition consisted of a single round-robin group where final standings were determined by the group’s rankings.
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