COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO- Sunday, September 17, marked the one-year celebration of the 2016 double gold medals won by the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball Teams.
The double gold medals marked:
-The first time the United States made a complete sweep of gold medals in both men’s and
women’s basketball at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
-The first time since 1988 when both the U.S. men’s and women’s teams won gold medals.
-The first time since 1996 when both teams medaled.
The U.S. Men’s Team defeated Spain, 68-52, and claimed gold September 17 at the Rio 2016 Paralympics but the win was no easy feat. In the first three quarters, both teams were exchanging baskets evenly with Spain in the lead at the start of the third quarter. It was not until the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter that Team USA took the lead with two back-to-back steals by two-time Paralympic Trevor Jenifer of Huntingtown, Maryland putting the score at 52-44. Two-time Paralympian Nate Hinze of Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, scored the last four points of the game from the foul line securing the win, 68-52.
The U.S. Women’s Team defeat against defending Paralympic gold medalists Germany, 62-45, enabled the duel win and marked the third gold medal for Women’s Basketball in the last four Paralympics. The United States Paralympic leads the overall medal count with eight medals, next to Germany’s seven.
The U.S. Women’s game against Germany was very strategic for both teams. It began even but a strong defensive output from Team USA edged them ahead. In the fourth, Germany narrowly outscored Team USA, but it was not enough to defend its 2012 gold medal. Two-time Paralympian Desiree Miller of Monroe, Washington, finished the game with a mid-range jump. This was the third time the United States had gone undefeated at the Paralympics.
When asked how she felt one year from gold Miller said, “I still get butterflies thinking about that moment receiving gold and hearing our anthem play sitting next to my extended family, my team. I can’t wait to relive some of these memories heading home to Seattle, Washington for the victory tour”.
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is hosting a Victory Tour to celebrate the undefeated U.S. Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair Basketball gold medalists of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The first stop of the tour is September 30th in Seattle, Washington near Miller’s hometown.
The men’s and women’s teams capturing gold last year was a historic milestone for the United States. The last time both teams reached the top of the medal platform was in 1988. Additionally, it has been 11 years, since the 1996 Paralympic Games, that both U.S. teams earned a medal.
“Despite it being one year ago that our team accomplished the goal of a lifetime, I can still remember the feeling of seeing all of us on the podium and hearing our national anthem played at the end of the tournament. It was a once in a lifetime experience and the players and coaches associated with that team will be connected forever,” Steve Serio co-captain of the U.S. Men’s Team of Westbury, New York said in an interview Tuesday.
Since the gold-medal performance in Rio, the U.S. Teams are now focused on returning to the top again at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Both teams qualified to compete at the 2018 World Championships and the 2019 ParaPan American Games in Peru.
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Results
USA def. Brazil, 75-38
USA def. Germany, 77-25
USA def. Islamic Republic of Iran, 93-44
USA def. Algeria, 92-24
USA def. Great Britain, 65-48
Spain def. Germany, 70-66
Great Britain vs. Australia, 74-51
Turkey vs. Brazil, 65-49
United States def. Netherlands, 70-37
Spain def. Great Britain, 69-63
United States def. Turkey, 74-54
Gold Medal Game – United States def. Spain, 68-52
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Results
Pool Play (4-0)
USA def. France, 93-37
USA def. China, 70-36
USA def. Netherlands, 60-50
USA def. Algeria, 65-15
Germany def. France, 76-28
Netherlands def. Canada, 78-60
Great Britain def. China, 57-38
USA def. Brazil, 66-35
Germany def. Netherlands, 55-45
United States def. Great Britain, 89-78
Gold Medal Game – United States def. Germany, 62-45