History

Ever since 1976 when women's basketball first appeared at the event, it has become the dream of so many aspiring and indeed even established female players around the world to step out at an Olympic Games.

It continues to hold a special and magical appeal for athletes around the globe, with teams assured of a place at the Rio Games in 2016.

Those that manage to succeed will play their role in trying to dislodge the USA from their Olympic throne - one which they have occupied since 1996 as they look to complete two entire decades of utter dominance by taking a spectacular sixth successive title in Rio.

Also taking a gold medal in both 1984 on home soil in Los Angeles and in 1988 in Seoul, the USA are seven-time winners.

The inaugural champions were the Soviet Union as they rode their way to the top step of the podium in 1976, managing to complete a successful defence four years later in front of their triumphant supporters in Moscow.

Since then, a near perfect USA Olympic honours board has only been punctuated by the Natalia Zasulskaya and Elena Khoudachova inspired title of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Barcelona in 1992.

Australia have regularly challenged the USA’s near monopoly, appearing in three consecutive Finals between 2000 and 2008, only to fall short.

While last time out at London 2012, France made their maiden appearance in the gold medal game - but it was to be a familiar story as USA romped to yet another golden moment.