Olympics: Basketball-Men's Gold Medal Game-USA vs ESP

Hypothetical Olympic 3-on-3 basketball rules

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As rumors persist that FIBA will push for 3-on-3 basketball as soon as 2016 it’s probably time to completely overhype this event before having our hopes and dreams dashed as we return to the boredom that is Team USA sleepwalking to gold nearly every four years. So here’s how we’d like to see our new favorite, albeit still non-existent, Olympics event played out in Rio.

Teams – Sure, basketball is a U.S. sport that America loves winning to prove their international superiority, but we’re thinking a 32-team tournament that limits each country to one squad would allow more countries to participate and help grow the sport. Also, the U.S. tournament to represent the States, held just after the Finals in June, would arguably be the highlight of every NBA fan’s year.

Rosters – Four man rosters chosen by the players themselves. Imagine the animosity created by Kevin Durant not returning LeBron’s phone call because the Oklahoma City star has already teamed up Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. This would cause the “eff you” attitude to go through the roof in strong basketball countries like Spain, France, and the U.S., which nearly always makes for better competition.

Scoring / rules – Quick rundown: best of three games, each to 21, ones and twos, win by two, loser’s ball. If that didn’t make sense, consult a friend or just move on. We’d like to think the pros could handle calling their own fouls, out-of-bounds, and the like, but that’s probably asking too much. There would need to be a referee just so players don’t eventually kill one another, and each player gets three fouls per game.

Court size / location – This is a tough decision: traditional half courts with take-backs or shrunk-down full courts? Half is the old school pure game, but full would create more opportunities for breakaways and dunks, would spread the floor, and would be more exciting in the long run. Regardless, the games should be played outside in some historic or picturesque location, ala beach volleyball at London’s Horse Guards Parade.

Attire / equipment – We’ve sexualized women’s beach volleyball by demanding bikinis since the sport’s inception in 1996, so it’s probably fair to tip our cap to the ladies and make the men’s game shirts vs. skins, right? As for the game ball, this is the one piece of American iconography we’re forcing on the world: we’re bringing back the old ABA ball. If you don’t like it, feel free to change our minds by winning gold.

Those are our rules, and we’re open to yours. What do you have for us, world?

Bryan brothers pull out of Olympics, won’t defend gold medal

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04:  (L-R) Silver medalist Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, gold medalist Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan of the United States and bronze medalist Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet of France pose on the podium during the medal ceremony after the Men's Doubles Tennis final match on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on August 4, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Bob and Mike Bryan have pulled out of the Rio Games, less than a week before they were to begin defending their men’s doubles Olympic gold medal.

The Americans made the announcement on their Facebook page, citing their “family’s health,” but not directly concerns with the Zika virus, which has caused many other tennis players and golfers to withdraw.

“After countless hours of deliberation Mike and I have decided to forego the Rio Olympics. Though we’d love to compete again, as husbands and fathers, our family’s health is now our top priority,” they wrote.

The 38-year-old identical twin brothers are the second-ranked men’s pair in the world. They defeated Michael Llodra and France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France for gold four years ago in London.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, they fell to Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in the semifinals before knocking off Llodra and Arnaud Clement for bronze. The Bryan brothers were the No. 1 seed in both 2008 and ’12.

After winning gold in London, Bob and Mike went on to collect titles at the next four Grand Slams (2012 U.S. Open, 2013 Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon). The brothers have won a total of 16 Grand Slam titles together.

MORE: Tomas Berdych joins growing list of tennis players skipping Rio

Doping investigator ‘inundated with requests’ for more info on Russians

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Canadian lawyer who accused Russia of operating a state-run doping program is facing “a deluge of requests” for information on individual athletes implicated in his investigation.

Richard McLaren, who was commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, issued a report that accused Russia’s sports ministry of overseeing doping among Olympic athletes in more than two dozen summer and winter sports.

The IOC rejected calls by WADA and other anti-doping bodies to ban Russia’s entire Olympic team from the Rio de Janeiro Games. Instead, the International Olympic Committee asked individual sports federations to determine which Russian athletes would be cleared to compete.

“My office has been inundated with requests for information on individual athletes,” McLaren said in a statement released late Friday from London, Ontario. “The (IOC) decision has resulted in a deluge of requests to provide information to the IFs (international federations); Russian national federations; the Russian Olympic Committee; the Russian Paralympic Committee and individual Russian athletes.”

McLaren said he has provided information to WADA that names athletes whose urine samples were part of a state-run cover-up.

“WADA in turn has shared this information with IFs,” he said.

More than 100 Russian athletes have been barred from the games so far – including the track and field team banned by the IAAF and more than 30 athletes excluded by other federations since the release of McLaren’s report. Russia’s entire weightlifting team was kicked out Friday.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Friday that 272 of the country’s original 387-strong team had been approved by international sports federations to compete in Rio.

The IOC has said that any Russian athlete with a prior sanction for doping would not be allowed into the games. Anyone implicated in McLaren’s report would also be excluded, the IOC said.

McLaren said his mandate has been extended to finish the investigation and “identify any further athletes that might have benefited from such manipulation to conceal positive doping tests.”

Until now, he said, the focus of his investigation was to look into evidence of a “state-dictated program which used the Moscow and Sochi laboratories to cover up doping.”

“It has not been to establish anti-doping rule violation cases against individual athletes,” McLaren said, adding that it was not his job to process doping cases against individual athletes.

“I have, however, received a considerable amount of reliable evidence, which clearly implicates individual athletes in the state-dictated program described in the report,” he said. “That evidence includes documents supported by the testimony of confidential witnesses and in some cases additional forensic and analytical evidence from the examination of sample bottles and their contents.”

McLaren said his ongoing investigation includes developing evidence which may be used in the future to sanction individual athletes.

“At this stage, I will not release any of the specific information I currently have concerning any athletes,” he said. “To do so would compromise the ongoing investigation.”

MORE: Entire Russian weightlifting team banned from Olympics