Kind of sport
Basketball is one of the fastest and most played sports in the world. The first and last Olympic outdoor basketball tournament was held in Berlin in 1936. Since 1976 basketball for women is on the Olympic programme. Basketball is played on a small court by two opposing teams of five players and seven reserve players. Points are scored by getting the ball through the basket (a ring with a little net) of the opponent. Registering a score from outside the free-throw area yields three points, while scoring from within yields two points. If a player is awarded a free-throw and scores, he/she has scored one point. The ball may not be pushed or kicked and a player may not run with the ball in his/her hands. Dribbling and pivoting are allowed. With pivoting, the foot which is turning stays on the ground, while with the other leg, steps may be made in any direction. At no time may an opponent be held, pushed, tackled or hindered. Two referees enforce the rules in a game and they can adjudge personal fouls to players. With five personal fouls, the player concerned is automatically sent off the court. Over the years, basketball has developed into a faster and more athletic sport. Mobility, jumping and throwing power, lightning reflexes, concentrationand and a finesse in the fingers and the wrist, which gets the ball in the basket, are the qualities which top basketball players need to have. The American men's teams have been dominating Olympic basketball ever since 1936. For the women there have been varying successes for the Sovjet Union as well as for the United States.