The International Olympic Committee decided, on Friday, June 9th, to introduce 3×3 basketball into the Olympic programme, starting with 2020, in Tokyo. The only team sport that saw Romania win a medal at the last two European Championships (men’s contest and then women’s) was set on track towards the Olympic roster by a Romanian team, namely Sport Arena Streetball.
The Romanian organizers set up the first 3×3 showcase tournament for the IOC in Bucharest, in 2013, and ever since has supported the campaign “from the streets to the Olympics”.
Patrick Baumann, FIBA’s Secretary General and a member of the CIO board, has acknowledged the Romanian party’s merits. “Sport Arena Streetball has pioneered the development of 3×3 basketball, which has now become an Olympic discipline,” he said.
Over the last three years, Sport Arena Streetball has been in charge with the organization of some of the biggest events of this discipline: two FIBA 3×3 World Tour Finals – in Abu Dhabi and two European Championships – in Bucharest. Thus, Sport Arena Streetball has consolidated the position of 3×3 basketball on two continents – Europe and Asia.
Sport Arena Streetball has established a recipe by which the sporting performance is complemented by music, incredible stunts and slam-dunk demonstrations and has managed to develop a competitive system that has been replicated globally in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour.
Alex Sanchez, FIBA 3×3 Managing Director, also saluted the Romanian team’s efforts. “Having organized 3×3 basketball events as early as 2005, Sport Arena Streetball has been a key element in developing this discipline from the streets to the Olympics,” Sanchez pointed out.
Romania has achieved remarkable results in the last two European Championships: gold medal in the men’s competition back in 2014 and a second place in the women’s competition – in 2016. Also, at the last edition of the World Championships, back in 2014, both teams have reached the quarterfinals.
Furthermore, a team from Bucharest has been ranked among the top four teams in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final twice – in Istanbul 2013 and Tokyo 2014 – and competed in 2014 at the FIBA 3×3 All Stars in Doha.
The 3×3 basketball Olympic tournament will feature eight teams in the men’s competition and eight teams in the women’s competition.