Basketball at the 1936 Summer Olympics

Basketball at the 1936 Summer Olympics was the first appearance of the sport of basketball as an official Olympic medal event. The tournament was played between 7 August and 14 August 1936 in Berlin, Germany. 23 (2 withdrew) nations entered the competition, making basketball the largest tournament of the team sports.

1st Olympic Basketball Tournament
Berlin 1936
Tournament details
Olympics1936 Summer Olympics
Host nationGermany
DurationAugust 7 – August 14
Men's tournament
Gold medalists  United States
Silver medalists Canada
Bronze medalists  Mexico
 1904 (demonstration)  London 1948 

The IOC and International Basketball Federation, which is the governing body of international basketball, used the 1936 tournament to experiment with outdoor basketball. Lawn tennis courts were used for the competition. This caused problems when the weather was adverse, especially during the final game.

The medals were awarded by James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. All went to North American teams.


Gold Silver Bronze
 United States (USA)
Sam Balter
Ralph Bishop
Joe Fortenberry
Tex Gibbons
Francis Johnson
Carl Knowles
Frank Lubin
Art Mollner
Donald Piper
Jack Ragland
Willard Schmidt
Carl Shy
Duane Swanson
Bill Wheatley
 Canada (CAN)
Gordon Aitchison
Ian Allison
Art Chapman
Chuck Chapman
Edward Dawson
Irving Meretsky
Doug Peden
James Stewart
Malcolm Wiseman
Stanley Nantais
 Mexico (MEX)
Carlos Borja
Víctor Borja
Rodolfo Choperena
Luis de la Vega
Raúl Fernández
Andrés Gómez
Silvio Hernández
Francisco Martínez
Jesús Olmos
José Pamplona
Greer Skousen

Note: The International Olympic Committee medal database shows only these players as medalists. They all played at least one match during the tournament. The reserve players are not listed as medalists.



Third round onwards

Third roundQuarter-finalsSemi-finalsGold medal match
 United States56
 United States25
14 August
 United States19
 Poland15 Bronze medal match
 14 August
 Poland (W/O)2 Mexico26
 Peru0  Poland12

Fifth-place classification

Preliminary round 5th place game
 Philippines 32
 Italy 14
 Philippines 32
 Uruguay 23
 Uruguay (w/o) 2
 Peru 0

First round

Winners advanced to the second round. Losers competed in the first consolation round for another chance to move on.

First consolation round

Winners returned to the main competition for the second round. Losers were out of the tournament.

  • Uruguay 17–10 Belgium
  • China 45–38 France
  • Egypt 33–23 Turkey
  • Canada w/o Hungary
  • Germany w/o Spain
  • Poland

Second round

Winners advanced to the third round. Losers competed in the second consolation round for another chance to move on.

  • Philippines 32–30 Mexico
  • Japan 43–31 Poland
  • Uruguay 36–23 Egypt
  • Peru 29–21 China
  • United States 52–28 Estonia
  • Italy 58–16 Germany
  • Switzerland 25–12 Czechoslovakia
  • Chile 23–18 Brazil
  • Canada 34–23 Latvia

Second consolation round

  • Poland def. Latvia, 28–23
  • Brazil def. China, 32–14
  • Mexico def. Egypt, 32–10
  • Czechoslovakia def. Germany, 20–9
  • Estonia

Third round

The third round was the first to cause automatic elimination for losers, with no consolation round. Winners advanced to the quarterfinals.

 Philippines 3922  Estonia
Scoring by half: 21–4, 18–18
 Chile 1927  Italy
Scoring by half: 12–16, 7–11
 Mexico 2822  Japan
Scoring by half: 12–8, 16–14
  Switzerland 927  Canada
Scoring by half: 1–13, 8–14
 Uruguay 2819  Czechoslovakia
Scoring by half: 14–8, 14–11
 Brazil 2533  Poland
Scoring by half: 10–17, 15–16

The United States and Peru had byes given, causing them to advance to the quarterfinals.


Winners of the quarterfinals advanced to the medals round, with losers playing in classification matches.

  • United States 56–23 Philippines
  • Mexico 24–17 Italy
  • Canada 41–21 Uruguay
  • Poland 2–0 Peru

The Peruvian team abandoned the Olympic Games in protest to the actions of German authorities in the football tournament.

Classification 5–8

Preliminary matches

  • Philippines 32–14 Italy
  • Uruguay w/o Peru

Peru forfeit: See above.

Fifth place match

  • Philippines 33–23 Uruguay

Medals round


August 13
United States  2510  Mexico
Scoring by half: 13–2, 12–8
Poland  1542  Canada
Scoring by half: 6-23, 9-19

Bronze medal match

August 14
Mexico  2612  Poland
Scoring by half: 23–8, 3–4


August 14
United States  198  Canada
Scoring by half: 15–4, 4–4
Pts: Fortenberry 7
Berlin, Germany
Attendance: 900+

The final was played outdoors on a dirt court in driving rain; due to the quagmire, the teams could not dribble, and the scoring was held to a minimum. Highest scorer in the game was Joe Fortenberry for the United States with seven points. In addition, there were virtually no seats for spectators, and almost all of the nearly 1,000 in attendance had to stand in the rain throughout the entire game.


 1936 Olympic Basketball Champions 

United States
First title

Participating nations

For the team rosters see: Basketball at the 1936 Summer Olympics – Men's team squads.

Each country was allowed to enter one team of 14 players and they all were eligible for participation; however, only seven were allowed to dress for competition at any one game.

A total of 199(*) basketball players from 23 (2 withdrew) nations competed at the Berlin Games:

(*) NOTE: There are only players counted, which participated in one game at least.

Not all reserve players are known.


Note: Hungary and Spain withdrew before competition started


  1. (in Italian)Un viaggio all’interno di questi Ottanta anni Archived October 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.