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Russia basketball teams banned through Olympic qualifying

Russia Basketball

FOSHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 06: #7 Vitaly Fridzon, #6 Grigory Motovilov and #8 Vladimir Ivlev of the Russia National Team reacts during the match against the Poland National Team during the 2nd round of 2019 FIBA World Cup at GBA International Sports and Cultural Center on September 6, 2019 in Foshan, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)

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Russia’s ban from international basketball has lasted long enough that its men’s and women’s five-on-five teams cannot qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics under current rules.

FIBA, the sport’s international governing body, said Tuesday its executive committee will not allow Russia into an early round of Olympic men’s qualifiers that it would have otherwise been eligible for.

A FIBA press release stated that the committee acted after the IOC recommended last month that teams of Russian and Belarusian athletes should remain barred from international competition, as they have been since March 2022.

The IOC recommended possible returns only for individual athletes who do not support the war.

Russia’s men’s basketball team last qualified for the Olympics in 2012, winning bronze with a roster that included since-retired NBA veteran Andrei Kirilenko. Russia was 12th at the last FIBA men’s World Cup in 2019.

Russia’s women’s basketball team was already eliminated from 2024 Olympic contention, as rules stand, when it was left out of a draw for a European qualifying tournament.

Russia’s women also last qualified for the Olympics in 2012, finishing fourth with a team that included Becky Hammon, who is now the Las Vegas Aces head coach.

Russian teams in 3x3 basketball, which made its Olympic debut in Tokyo, could still qualify for the Paris Games if the ban is lifted. A 3x3 team of Russian women, playing as the Russian Olympic Committee rather than Russia due to the nation’s doping violations, took silver to the U.S. in Tokyo.

In gymnastics, the ban on Russian athletes has already run long enough to preclude them from qualifying full teams for Paris, though individual Russian gymnasts can still qualify should the ban be lifted. Teams of Russian gymnasts won the Olympic men’s and women’s titles in Tokyo.

Russia has also traditionally been strong in Olympic team events in artistic swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, volleyball and handball.

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