Basketball at the 1936 Summer Olympics
Basketball at the 1936 Summer Olympics was the first appearance of the sport of basketball as an official Olympic medal event. The tournament was played between 7 August and 14 August 1936 in Berlin, Germany. 23 nations entered the competition, making basketball the largest tournament of the team sports, but Hungary and Spain withdrew, meaning 21 competed.
|1st Olympic Basketball Tournament|
|Olympics||1936 Summer Olympics|
|Duration||August 7 – August 14|
The IOC and International Basketball Federation, which is the governing body of international basketball, used the 1936 tournament to experiment with outdoor basketball. Lawn and dirt tennis courts were used for the competition, but this caused problems when the weather was adverse, especially during the final of the tournament.
The medals were awarded by James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. The United States won its first gold medal, while Canada and Mexico won silver and bronze, their only medals in basketball, as of 2020.
Note: The International Olympic Committee medal database shows only these players as medalists. They all played at least one match during the tournament. The reserve players are not listed as medalists.
Third round onwardsEdit
|Third round||Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Gold medal match|
|Poland||15||Bronze medal match|
|Preliminary round||5th place game|
Winners advanced to the second round, while losers competed in the first consolation round for another chance to move on.
|7 August 1936||Switzerland||25–18||Germany||Berlin, Germany|
|Scoring by half: 8–10, 17–8|
|7 August 1936||Japan||35–19||Republic of China||Berlin, Germany|
|Scoring by half: 15–10, 20–9|
First consolation roundEdit
Winners returned to the main competition for the second round, while losers were eliminated.
- Uruguay 17–10 Belgium
- China 45–38 France
- Egypt 33–23 Turkey
Byes: Brazil, Germany and Poland
Winners advanced to the third round. Losers competed in the second consolation round for another chance to move on.
- Philippines 32–30 Mexico
- Japan 43–31 Poland
- Uruguay 36–23 Egypt
- Peru 29–21 China
- United States 52–28 Estonia
- Italy 58–16 Germany
- Switzerland 25–12 Czechoslovakia
- Chile 23–18 Brazil
- Canada 34–23 Latvia
Second consolation roundEdit
- Poland def. Latvia, 28–23
- Brazil def. China, 32–14
- Mexico def. Egypt, 32–10
- Czechoslovakia def. Germany, 20–9
The third round was the first to cause automatic elimination for losers, with no consolation round. Winners advanced to the quarterfinals.
Byes: United States and Peru
Winners of the quarterfinals advanced to the medals round, with losers playing in classification matches.
- United States 56–23 Philippines
- Mexico 24–17 Italy
- Canada 41–21 Uruguay
- Philippines 32–14 Italy
Bye: Uruguay (Peru abandoned competition - see above).
Fifth place matchEdit
- Philippines 33–23 Uruguay
Bronze medal matchEdit
|Scoring by half: 15–4, 4–4|
|Pts: Fortenberry 7|
The final was played in driving rain, turning the court into a quagmire such that it was impossible to dribble, while the conditions kept scoring to a minimum: highest scorer in the game was Joe Fortenberry of the United States, with seven points. In addition, almost all of the nearly 1,000 in attendance had to stand in the rain throughout the final as there were virtually no seats for spectators.
|1936 Olympic Basketball Champions|
For the team rosters see: Basketball at the 1936 Summer Olympics – Men's team squads.
Each country was allowed to enter one team of 14 players and they all were eligible for participation; however, only seven were allowed to dress for competition at any one game.
A total of 199(*) basketball players from 21 nations competed at the Berlin Games:
- Belgium (8 – from a squad of 14)
- Brazil (8 – from a squad of 10)
- Canada (9 – from a squad of 14)
- Chile (7 – from a squad of 11)
- Republic of China (13 – from a squad of 14)
- Czechoslovakia (12 – from a squad of 12)
- Egypt (7 – from a squad of 10)
- Estonia (8 – from a squad of 11)
- France (11 – from a squad of 14)
- Germany (10 – from a squad of 14)
- Italy (13 – from a squad of 14)
- Japan (8 – from a squad of 11)
- Latvia (7 – from a squad of 11)
- Mexico (11 – from a squad of 11)
- Peru (9 – from a squad of 13)
- Philippines (9 – from a squad of 12)
- Poland (10 – from a squad of 14)
- Switzerland (8 – from a squad of 13)
- Turkey (8 – from a squad of 10)
- United States (14 – alternating squads of seven players)
- Uruguay (9 – from a squad of 13)
Hungary and Spain withdrew before playing a match.
(*) NOTE: There are only players counted, which participated in one game at least.
Not all reserve players are known.