IOC denies 3-on-3 for 2016 Olympics
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Despite a strong push and official application from FIBA, 3-on-3 basketball will not be part of the program at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro the International Olympic Committee decided in a quiet ruling last month.
In a statement the IOC’s executive board said that any “any request from International Federations (IFs) that would result in a higher number of athletes or increased number of medals, thereby adding to the cost and complexity of the Games, would not be considered. At a later stage, the IOC will study the quota-neutral requests already made by IFs for either a swap of event or modifications of competition format.”
In another ruling, the IOC declined FIBA’s request to increase the number of basketball teams in the Olympics from 12 to 16. The intent was to add more teams but limit the number of games played. Instead of two groups of six with five preliminary round games, FIBA wanted four groups of four with three preliminary games.
FIBA, the world governing body of basketball, had received complaints from pro basketball leagues around the world, including the NBA, that the Olympic competition was too long and taking a physical and mental toll on players between the end of one season and the start of another.
The request to increase the number of teams was viewed as a compromise with those pushing for a 23-and-under age restriction for the men’s competition. While there is no age limit for the 2016 Olympics, it will be a possibility for the 2020 Games, especially as FIBA tries to capitalize on the 2019 World Cup. In international basketball, the World Cup, formerly world championships, is more prestigious than the Olympics.
FIBA made a serious push for 3-on-3. It had hoped to create a popular Olympic event, much volleyball has capitalized on beach volleyball and cycling on BMX at the Olympics.
“We are very disappointed to learn that, as a consequence, 3×3 would not be considered at this stage, based on reasons unrelated to the merits of the discipline,” FIBA said in a statement. “We strongly believe that 3×3 is an exciting and spectacular … [For more on IOC denies 3-on-3 basketball for 2016 Olympics, click here.]