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How the FIBA World Cup impacts the Olympics

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The first nation to qualify for the 2016 Olympic men’s basketball tournament will be the champion of the FIBA World Cup, which begins Saturday and runs through Sept. 15.

The U.S. is favored, having won the Olympics in 2008 and 2012 and the FIBA World Cup (then the World Championships) in 2010. Host Spain is its biggest competition.

Brazil, as the Olympic host nation, automatically has a spot in the 12-team Olympic basketball tournament.

If the U.S. does not prevail, it will have a second chance to clinch a spot in Rio at next year’s FIBA Americas Championship. This safety net was necessary for the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. The U.S. lost the preceding World Championships each of those times but won the FIBA Americas Championship.

A possible third chance would come in the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament one month before the Rio Games.

So, a defeat in Spain should cause no worry about the U.S.’ Olympic hopes. In fact, one could consider this stat: four out of 16 winners of the FIBA World Championships preceding the Olympics went on to win Olympic gold.

ProBasketballTalk: FIBA World Cup preview

What about the makeup of the 2016 U.S. Olympic roster? Recent history dictates that 12-man team will include about half of the men on the FIBA World Cup squad.

Five members of the U.S. team at the 2010 FIBA World Championships made it on the 2012 U.S. Olympic roster — Tyson ChandlerKevin Durant, Andre IguodalaKevin Love and Russell Westbrook.

Six members of the U.S. team at the 2006 FIBA World Championships made it on the 2008 U.S. Olympic roster — Carmelo Anthony, Chris BoshDwight HowardLeBron JamesChris Paul and Dwyane Wade.

And one member of the U.S. team that finished a forgettable sixth at the 2002 FIBA World Championships in Indianapolis made it on the 2004 U.S. Olympic roster — Shawn Marion.

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Blind Paralympic champion Brad Snyder throws ceremonial first pitch (video)

Brad Snyder
Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles
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Brad Snyder, who took home three swimming gold medals from the Rio Paralympic Games, threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles game on Sunday.

Snyder, who lost his vision while serving in the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan by stepping on an improvised explosive device, is a native of Baltimore.

He pitched alongside fellow Paralympic swimmer McKenzie Coan, who also claimed three gold medals in Rio.

The Orioles honored two more Paralympians, track and field sisters Hannah and Tatyana McFadden, before Saturday’s game.

Tatyana won six medals in Rio, which tied her with swimmer Jessica Long for the most for a U.S. athlete.

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High school gym named after Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs

US' Jordan Ernest Burroughs celebrates a
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The gymnasium at Winslow Township (N.J.) High School was renamed Jordan Burroughs Gymnasium on Saturday in honor of the 2012 Olympic wrestling champion.

“I just want people to recognize it’s possible,” Burroughs said to the Courier-Post. “It takes focus, dedication and really, discipline, to get to this high level of success. But like, I did it. From here. These same teachers, these same facilities, this same community. It’s possible. I want people to recognize that.”

Burroughs was a state champion in 2006 at Winslow Township High School. Six years later, he claimed an Olympic gold medal in the men’s freestyle wrestling 74kg division.

In Rio, he lost his quarterfinal match to Russia’s Aniuar Geduev, who went on to earn the silver medal. After the match, an emotional Burroughs referred to the loss as the “hardest day of my life.”

MORE: Jordan Burroughs will not repeat gold after loss to Russia’s Geduev