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?

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva easily won the women’s title despite a rare fall in her free skate. Medvedeva is undefeated since 2015 Rostelecom Cup.

Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

“I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit on the second quad toe – that was a big mistake,” Chen said, according to the International Skating Union .”I can’t let things like that happen in the future. But this is my first Grand Prix win, and I’m very happy with that.”

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February. Hanyu got the better of Chen at the most important event — winning the world championships, where the American was sixth.

Also Saturday, two-time world medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won the ice dance with 189.24 points, sweeping both the short and free programs.

The siblings and U.S. champions have now won four straight Grand Prix titles (not counting the Grand Prix Final).

They won by 4.5 points over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev.

The world’s top two couples were not in the field — Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Russia swept the pairs podium, led by world bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

The top pairs teams from the rest of the world — including world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong — were not in the field.

The Rostelecom Cup women’s free skate is later Saturday.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Rostelecom Cup
Men
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 293.79
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 290.77
3. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) — 271.06
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 206.09

Ice Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 189.24
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 184.74
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 179.35
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 148.75

Pairs
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 224.25
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 204.43
3. Kristina Astakhova/Aleksey Rogonov (RUS) — 199.11
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 170.53

Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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