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London Olympics Information » About the Olympics » Olympics 2012 Sports and Disciplines » Basketball


The credit for the birth of basketball goes to Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian by birth, who was a visionary physical education teacher at Springfield University, Massachusetts. He, under the guidance of prominent American physical education expert, Luther Halsey Gulick, developed the primary version of basketball. The indoor format of the game was conceived to involve an unruly class which was not allowed outdoors during the harsh winter months of New England. Originally, the players used a football (soccer ball) which they passed from one team mate to the other and lobbed the ball into the opponent's high peach basket to make a shot. The balls specifically designed for the game made their debut in 1950.

Men's basketball made an official entry at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, and the women's basketball as an event was recognised at the 1974 during the Montreal Olympic Games.

The modern basketball is played by two teams with five players on each side. The basket is a hoop which is set up at 10 feet (3.048 m), and the teams try to throw the ball into the basket and score points. The team with the maximum number of points is the winner. USA has dominated the Summer Olympics in both the men's and women's events. The men's and women's teams have won 13 gold medals so far, including one each at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


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