US women, Latvia men grab first 3x3 golds

USA's women 3x3 basketball team celebrate their gold medal win at the Tokyo Games.
USA's women 3x3 basketball team celebrate their gold medal win at the Tokyo Games.

The United States women and Latvian men have been crowned the first Olympic gold medallists in 3x3 basketball after emerging triumphant with victories over Russian teams.

The US women, stacked with WNBA talent, defeated the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 18-15 at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo on Wednesday, with Stefanie Dolson, of the Chicago Sky, led in scoring with seven points.

"Basketball runs deep in the USA and to pull this off and win gold is incredible," she said. "It just feels incredible. We achieved our goal."

Capping a back-and-forth match in the men's final, Karlis Lasmanis hit a two-point jumper to seal victory for Latvia over the ROC, 21-18.

The China women's team prevailed over top-seeded France 16-14 to claim the bronze medal, while the men's bronze went to Serbia after they beat Belgium 21-10.

Serbia had been heavily favoured for gold, led by Dusan Domovic Bulut, the first real superstar of the new sport.

"It's a medal. We finished the tournament with a win," Bulut said. "Better than losing in the final, no?"

With its debut at the summer Olympics, 3x3 looked to boost its global profile as a faster-paced, more compact alternative to traditional basketball, with hip-hop music played by DJs throughout games to enhance the youth appeal.

Australian Associated Press