The Olympic Committee is constantly adding new sports as they seek ton expand their audience globally. This year, we will get a taste of 3 on 3 basketball. What better way to introduce the sport to Edmontonians by having a team of their own appear in the games. This year, it is very possible. Edmonton 3×3 is contending for a berth in the Olympic Games in a tournament set to kick off on Tuesday May 26, 2021.
The Edmonton 3×3 team is led by Edmonton native Steve Sir as well as Jordan Jensen-White, Kyle Landry and Alex Johnson.
The road to the Olympics is a tough one for Edmonton, as they must finish in the top 3 of all 20 teams competing. I talked to Steve Sir about what they need to do to qualify. “First we’ll need to get out of the group stage by finishing in the top 2” explained Sir. Canada is joined in “Pool D’ of the mens bracket by Netherlands, Latvia, Croatia and Austria. Canada must beat out at least 3 of these teams to advance.
Edmonton takes on Croatia and Netherlands on day 2 of the event. If they lose both of these games they are eliminated from olympic contention. If they were to win 1 or 2 games the dream is still alive. On day 4, Edmonton takes on Latvia and Austria.
If Edmonton is able to be one of the two teams to advance from Pool D, they will advance to the quarterfinals on day 5 of the event. At this point, there will be 8 mens teams remaining. Edmonton will need to win their quarterfinal game in order to keep their Olympic hopes alive. If they can do this, they will be one of 4 teams to advance to the semi finals.
This is where things get intense. There is two semi final games, if Sir and Canada can win one of these games, they’ve punched their ticket to the Olympics. If they lose in the semis, they have one more chance in the third place game. If they can win this game, they earn the final spot in the Tokyo games.
As you can probably imagine, this is a lot of pressure for our guys in red and white. “Nervous, excited, eager” said Steve Sir, “we’ve been waiting for over a year since the original olympic qualifier was postponed”. Indeed it has been a journey for 3×3, who had their qualifier cancelled due to the pandemic in 2020. Now, it’s finally time to play.
“We’ll be prepared and ready to fight for one of three available spots.” said Steve Sir, “We really like our chances to qualify for Tokyo”.
Sir and Team Canada tip off on May 27 at 10:45 AM MST against Croatia.