RIO DE JANEIRO (Rio 2016 Olympic Games) - With the Final Phase of the Olympic Basketball Tournaments for Men and Women set to get underway, FIBA.com talked to FIBA President Horacio Muratore.
FIBA.com: What are the main takeaways you have looking at the women's competition?
Muratore: The tournament has lived up to our expectations. Every team has made an effort to bring the best talent to Rio to the point that we've been treated to some incredible performances from great players such as Liz Cambage, Lara Sanders, Alba Torrens, Nevriye Yilmaz, Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor to mention a few. Their presence and great play has elevated women's basketball in these Olympic Games. We are satisfied with the level of competition and happy for every team that advanced out of the Group Phase and is still in the running to make their dreams come true in hopefully winning a medal in the latter stages. Obviously being in Brazil it is sad that their team did not go through but it shows the kind of competition level that the tournament had and has moving forward.
FIBA.com: And what are your thoughts on the men's event?
Muratore: The level of the men's tournament has been very high with a lot of strong teams. There have been some extraordinary games including three teams in Australia, France and Serbia that have been able to compete and almost beat the powerful defending champions USA. This has brought great interest to basketball in these Olympics, which is something that we are used to. Basketball is always up there as one of the biggest attractions of the Games and not just because of the attendance in the venue - which has been excellent throughout - but because of the high quantity of representatives from countries competing in other sports that want to come and experience basketball at the Olympics firsthand.
It has been a fantastic couple of weeks for basketball. Our sport has received great visibility with a lot of countries electing to have a TV channel within their coverage exclusively dedicated to basketball, broadcasting every game even when their national team is not playing and in some cases when their team did not qualify and is not participating. We are satisfied and thankful to each of our national federations for making the effort to make a basketball a priority in their respective countries.
FIBA.com: Beyond basketball, what has your own personal experience of the Rio Olympics been like?
Muratore: We have to thank the effort the Brazilians have done to make these Games happen, highlighting the fact that every sporting facility was delivered and completed as agreed when the bid was placed. Everybody is happy. I've been able to visit other sports and share experiences with other federations and can attest that these have been extraordinary.