Host City: Atlanta, United States
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: August 4, 1996
Participants: 284 (141 men and 143 women) from 19 countries
Youngest Participant: Wang Zhizhi (17 years, 13 days)
Oldest Participant: Georgie Torres (38 years, 303 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 71 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): United States (2 medals)
Most of the 1996 Olympic basketball games were held at the Forbes Arena, on the campus of Morehouse College, although the final rounds were played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Forbes Arena, named after a former Morehouse athletic director, Franklin Forbes, was built for the 1996 Olympics and later became the home of Morehouse basketball. The Georgia Dome was built from 1989-92 and became the home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
The one change to the format in 1996 basketball was that the women’s field was expanded to 12 teams, and both men and women played in the same format – two 6-team groups, playing in a round-robin format, with the top four teams in each group advancing to the knock-out phase, beginning with the quarter-finals.
The 12 men’s teams were selected as follows – United States as 1994 World Champion and host nation; 1995 European Championships (Serbia & Montenegro, Lithuania, Croatia, Greece); 1995 Tournament of the Americas (Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil); 1995 Asian Championships (China, Korea); and Australia, the 1995 Oceanian Champion; and Angola, the 1995 African Champion.
The 12 women’s teams were selected as follows – United States as host nation; Brazil as the 1994 World Champion; 1995 European Championships (Ukraine, Italy, Russia); 1995 Tournament of the Americans (Canada, Cuba); 1995 Asian Championships (China, Korea, Japan); and Australia, the 1995 Oceanian Champion; and Zaire, the 1994 African Champion.
The USA again entered an NBA All-Star team and won the tournament easily. They were not quite as dominant as the 1992 Dream Team but won the semi-finals by 28 points over Australia, and the final by 26 points over Serbia & Montenegro. The USA women were virtually as dominant, winning the gold medal by defeating Australia in the semi-finals by 22 points and Brazil in the final by 24 points.