The step was too high, but they seemed to have the stature to take it. French basketball players lost to the Americans (82-87) in the Olympic final of the basketball tournament in Saitama, 30 km north of Tokyo, on Saturday, August 7. The “Team USA” thus won its sixteenth gold medal in nineteen appearances at the Olympic Games.
At the Tokyo Olympics, France shines as a collective
The French leader, Nicolas Batum, has his arms folded and staring into space. But from the defeat, he prefers to draw a reason for rejoicing: “ Not being satisfied with ourselves when we win an Olympic medal is a good thing. French basketball has come to this! “
First medal in 21 years
Because the course of the France team in Tokyo was so far flawless: no defeat since the start of the tournament, a victory against the United States in pools and a semi-final snatched by a point against Slovenia. Thursday. Enough to give wings to a team returning from a long crossing of the desert at the Olympics: the last finals, lost, dated from 2000 and 1948.
Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games: the adventure of 3 x 3 basketball has started well
On Saturday, the opponent was a cut above. “ We knew we had a mountain in front of us. They have individualities which are far above what we can play every day “, summarizes Nando de Colo. The American train was pulled by a locomotive: Kevin Durant, 29 points all by himself. Imperial.
Lots of bullet losses
The Blues however believed in it until the end, even coming back to three points ten seconds from the end. In vain. The 18 ball losses and the 11 missed free throws throughout the game weigh heavily in the balance, and feed regrets.
” We made several mistakes, regrets coach Vincent Collet, in office since 2009. But I’m proud of my players, we played with heart and intelligence. Tonight there was a real match He adds, even forgetting that the dial indicates 2:30 p.m. as he speaks.
The final was indeed held at 11:30 am in Saitama. Unusual schedule for players but tailor-made for American viewers (10:30 p.m.): the giant American broadcaster NBC weighs heavily when it comes to negotiating with the IOC the calendar of basketball events.
In Tokyo, the Olympic Games on the sly
Behind closed doors, the final nevertheless took place in front of nearly a thousand people: Games volunteers, members of delegations and journalists from all over the world. Not enough to fill the 21,000 seats in the Saitama Super Arena, however. The speakers in the room therefore spat out a confusing false audience soundtrack, similar to the hubbub of a restaurant room.
The Blues won in Saitama the 28th French medal of the Tokyo Games. And take a date for the next deadline: “ We are a young group who do not yet have much experience together, explains Evan Fournier, author of 16 points. We are going up, we were 3rd at the World Cup in China in 2019, we are 2e here. We have to keep climbing. »So that the mountain is no longer inaccessible.