This was a familiar and routine experience on the final day of these uncertain and dissonant Olympics.
The sound of inevitability is the tensions of the Star-Spangled-Banner in a basketball stadium during a medal ceremony. It is difficult to write about American Olympic basketball without using the word “consecutive” or its synonyms. These aren’t just teams, they’re dynasties, dependable, and relentlessly brilliant.
A 90-75 victory for the American women over Japan on Sunday brought a seventh consecutive Olympic gold and a victory in 55 consecutive Games, a day after the men took their fourth title on a trot.
While the American men staggered at times and lost in the group stage to France, the nation they faced again in the final and won 87-82, the women won all six of their matches and were only beaten in seven of 24 rooms.
Nor is it that gold medal games tend to offer much doubt or drama. As wide as it was, the 15-point margin of victory here was below the 23.4 average during Team USA’s 25-year golden stretch.
Since women’s basketball entered the Olympics in 1976, the smallest margin of victory in a gold medal game is seven points. That happened in 1988, when the United States beat Yugoslavia 77-70. Overall, the United States has won nine of the 12 women’s titles; the others were claimed by the Soviet Union in 1976 and 1980 and the CIS team of the former Soviet nations in 1992.
It is one of the most dominant records in any sport. The United States women’s water polo team, which won its third consecutive gold medal on Saturday, is in that conversation. But they lost a game in Tokyo, their first Olympic setback since 2008.
Still, a novelty was found in the identity of the US opponent, as Japan won its first basketball medal. They stunned France, 87-71, in their semi-final, reaching this gem with the help of assists from point guard Rui Machida and the three-point prowess of Yuki Miyazawa and Saki Hayashi.
But the United States, with their roster of WNBA stars, beat them 86-69 in the group stage and the rematch was equally lopsided. Japan made only 36% of their field goal attempts and this was a physical mismatch underscored by a 30-point shot for Brittney Griner, the Phoenix Mercury’s 6-foot-8 center. Her teammate A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces contributed 19 points in the 90-75 score.
Led by an American, Tom Hovasse, who played two NBA games for the Atlanta Hawks in 1994, a talented lineup from Japan was cheered on, or, more accurately, applauded according to the rules of the pandemic, by several hundred volunteers. in a cavernous place. with a retractable stand that once housed a John Lennon Museum.
The United States led 50-39 at the midpoint. By then it was evident that the greatest source of intrigue would be if the halftime entertainment, the CUE5 Robot, he would sink all his shots (he missed twice from midfield and put his head in his hands before making his third attempt).
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism