Team USA lose to Puerto Rico 92-73

In terms of sporting domination, few teams can come close to the successes enjoyed by the USA's basketball team since the sport's introduction to the Olympic roster in 1936.

But in Athens four years ago, their aura of invincibility was shattered by the tiny island of Puerto Rico.

Prior to Athens, the Americans had only lost only twice in the 14 Olympic basketball competitions they had entered.

On both occasions it was to the old Soviet Union side - the first came in the 1972 final and there will be more on that in a later countdown.

The second defeat in 1988 left USA with a bronze medal and prompted a change in rules that allowed professional players from America's National Basketball Association to play at the Olympics.

Enter the Dream Team, which included legends such as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, for the 1992 Olymipics and America went on another unbeaten run to the start of the 2004 Athens Games.

But in their opening group game against Puerto Rico, a team they had beaten five times in 13 months prior to the Games, USA slumped to 92-73 defeat - their first loss at the Olympics since the introduction of the professional team.

Now, their team may not have been as strong as the 92 vintage, but it still boasted players such as Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson and was among the favourites for gold.

Victories over Greece and Australia followed, but a second defeat to Lithuania meant America finished fourth in their group.

A quarter-final win over Spain, 102-94, steadied the boat, but an unprecedented third defeat, to Argentina in the semi-final, followed.

A 104-96 revenge victory over Lithuania in the bronze-medal match spared a few blushes, but the reality was that the 2004 Dream Team had lost more games in one Olympics than USA had lost in 14 previous Games.

The defeat to Puerto Rico was called the worst in American history by ESPN - but are there other Olympic sporting upsets to rival this?

Peter Scrivener is a BBC Sport Journalist. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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