Host City: Athina, Greece
Date Started: August 14, 2004
Date Finished: August 28, 2004
Participants: 287 (144 men and 143 women) from 18 countries
Youngest Participant: Yi Jianlian (16 years, 294 days)
Oldest Participant: José Rafael Ortíz (40 years, 296 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 72 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): United States (2 medals)
Most of the 2004 basketball games were played at the Kleisto Gipedo, or the Olympic Indoor Arena at the Helleniko Olympic Complex, although the final rounds were played at the Olympiako Kleisto Gymnastirio, or the Olympic Indoor Hall at the Athina Olympic Sports Complex. The Kleisto Gipedo was built specifically for the 2004 Olympics on the site of the old Hellinikon International Airport, and continues to be used by several teams in the Greek Basket League. The Olympic Indoor Hall was built in 1995 but it was renovated in 2002-04, and is still the home arena of Panathinaikos Athina.
The format was the same as from 1996-2000, with both men and women playing 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 – Greece as the host nation; Serbia & Montenegro as the 2002 World Champions; the 2003 Tournament of the Americas (United States, Argentina, Puerto Rico); 2003 EuroBasket Championship (Lithuania, Spain, Italy); 2003 Oceanian Championship (Australia, New Zealand); and the 2003 Asian and African Champions (China and Angola, respectively).
The 12 women’s teams were selected as follows – Greece as the host nation; the United States as the 2002 World Champions; the 2003 EuroBasket Championship (Russia, Czech Republic, Spain); 2004 Asian Championship (China, Japan, Korea); 2003 Oceanian Championships (Australia, New Zealand); and the 2003 Tournament of the Americas and African Champions (Brazil and Nigeria, respectively).
A big upset occurred in the men’s tournament, which was won by Argentina, with the United States winning only a bronze medal. Argentina had several NBA players, and the United States actually lost three games, including their semi-final against Argentina. The US women continued to be the world’s best team, not having lost a major international tournament since 1992.