In 1972, the members of the United States basketball team declined their Olympic silver medals after losing the title game in controversial fashion to the underdog Soviet Union team.
Four years later, a USA basketball team again watched the U.S.S.R claim Olympic gold, but this time the runners-up treasured their awards.
While the two teams earned the same results, the second group of Olympians differed significantly from the Munich team in one key respect: their gender. Indeed, the Montreal competition marked the first time women from any country had competed in an Olympic basketball tournament. The men played in ’76, too, of course, and Coach Dean Smith’s team reassured American hoops fans by reclaiming gold. But for Billie Moore, the women’s coach, her squad’s finish carried both immediate and lasting significance.
In this video interview, Coach Moore explains how the US nearly didn’t make the Olympic Games despite the presence of future Hall of Famers like Pat Head, Anne Meyers, and Nancy Lieberman. A Hall of Famer herself, Moore also details what their showing meant to the future of the sport.