Host City: Berlin, Germany
Date Started: August 7, 1936
Date Finished: August 14, 1936
Participants: 199 (199 men and 0 women) from 21 countries
Youngest Participant: Heino Veskila (17 years, 237 days)
Oldest Participant: Leandro Gómez (34 years, 140 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 34 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal
A small exhibition of basketball was held in 1904 during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, but it is not usually considered an Olympic event. Basketball made its true Olympic début in 1936 at Berlin, with the inventor of the game, James Naismith, present to watch his sport make the Olympics. International basketball events had been held since 1930, starting with the South American Championships that year, and there was a 1935 European Championship as well.
Twenty-one countries competed in Berlin, with the tournament held as a double-elimination for two rounds, which eliminated five teams, and led to a knock-out phase with single-elimination among the final 16 teams. The United States won rather easily, as would be expected, which began a streak of seven consecutive basketball gold medals.
The event was held at the Tennisplätze on the Reichssportfeld in Berlin. Unfortunately this was an outdoor venue, and the courts were sand courts, as the Germans knew nothing about basketball in 1936. This greatly limited mobility and slowed down the game, especially in the final, when it rained, turning the court into mud, which helps explain the score, with the United States defeating Canada, 19-8.