Giant on the move
Redeem team brings it home for the U.S.
After watching the United States destroy every opponent in the basketball tournament by an average of more than 30 points before the final on Sunday, there probably weren’t many people expecting Spain to have a chance against a “Redeem Team” determined to win back the gold medal after the debacle of the bronze in 2004.
But then Spain played a superb match and kept the Americans on the ropes all the way to the very end with one dazzling basket after another.
It was by far the best match of the tournament. Dave Beckham was among the delighted eyewitnesses — we were all wondering which team he was rooting for — and so was Jacques Rogge and Juan Antonio Samaranch. All of them got cheers from the big crowd whenever their smiling images of were flashed up on the giant scoreboard.
Many of the players and coaches after the match used the word “historic” to describe what they had just been through — getting a jump on the hundreds of journalists who had clearly just witnessed something special play out before their eyes. It’s a big word and often overused. But for anyone who was there, it was hard to disagree.
“We played with great character in one of the great games of international basketball history,” said U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Spain’s Paul Gasol added: “People will remember it for a long time. We never backed down. We can be proud.”