Saturday, June 14, 2008

Latvian women's basketball in Madrid - history made!

Just while the Latvian intelligentsia call the civil society to be vigilant and keep their umbrellas ready for use against morally degraded politicians in Latvia, there came excellent news from Madrid. Latvian women's basketball squad made history, and after seventy two years enabled a team from the nation of 2,3 millions to participate in the Summer Olympic games again!

Photo: Aivars Liepiņš Diena

The last Latvian team that participated in the Summer Olympic games was the men's basketball squad in the Berlin Olympics in 1936.


After Latvia regained its independence in 1991 the women's basketball team is the first team that will participate in Summer Olympics. The Latvian men's ice-hockey team participated in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 already. Now the Latvian women's basketball team earned the the right to bring the historic Latvian team sports torch all the way from Berlin in 1936 to Beijing in 2008. It is symbolic that the the women's basketball reached the summit that deservedly earned them the right to participate in Olympic games first, because the Latvian women's basketball stood out as primus inter pares among other male and female team competitions during the Soviet occupation in Latvia. The high time of Latvian women's basketball was spent under the Soviet yoke, when the famous triplet TTT (Riga Tramway Trust Company team) with Uļjana Semjonova won the Soviet women's basketball championship title 22 (!) times, and helped the Soviet women's basketball to flourish in international arena.

Now it is time for Latvian women's team to participate under their own maroon-white-maroon flag and it is quite an achievement for a 2,3 million state. Those of you willing to learn more about Latvian basketball are welcome to visit the site where abundance of pictures will allow you to compensate the lack of Latvian language knowledge. Also, and even more importantly Latvian women with their steely determination set an example for Latvian men to emulate one day!


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