Basketball is a sport contested at the Summer Olympic Games. A men's basketball tournament was first held at the 1904 Olympics as a demonstration; it has been held at every Summer Olympics since 1936. In the 1972 Olympics, the final game between the United States and the Soviet Union was a controversial one, as the game was ended and replayed twice, before the Soviet Union won their first gold medal, which would have been won by the United States if the game wasn't replayed. The U.S. filed a formal protest but was rejected by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). As a result, the United States refused to accept the silver medal, and haven't reclaimed since. After a protest of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The Soviet Union responded by leading the 1984 Summer Olympics boycott, citing security concerns in the United States. Both boycotts affected basketball at the Olympics, as both had successful basketball teams at the time. In 1989, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to allow professional athletes to compete in the Olympics, and starting in 1992, the National Basketball Association (NBA) allowed its players to participate. Women's basketball was first held at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Both events have been held at every Olympic Games since.
Teresa Edwards is the all-time leader for the most Olympic medals in basketball, with four gold and one bronze. Three athletes have won four medals: Lisa Leslie (four gold), Gennadi Volnov (one gold, two silver, one bronze), and Sergei Belov (one gold, three bronze). Leslie is the all-time leader for the most consecutive gold medal wins in basketball. Five Americans have won three golds—Edwards, Leslie, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley, and Sheryl Swoopes—and nineteen, not including the previously mentioned, have won three medals.
The United States have been successful in both the men's and women's tournaments, winning a medal in every Olympiad except the 1980 Summer Olympics. The Soviet Union is the only other team to have won 12 medals in the men's and women's tournament, 10 of which were won from 1952 to 1980. Other teams to have won four or more medals include Brazil (three men's, two women's) and Australia's women. As of the 2008 Summer Olympics, 78 medals (26 of each color) have been awarded to teams from 19 National Olympic Committees.
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