Three-on-three basketball is a new Olympic sport, USA Women’s team will play in Tokyo games

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Katie Lou Samuelson (#12) in the recent FIBA three-on-three Olympic qualifying tournament. Photo by FIBA 3x3.

Professional basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson hopes to compete in the Tokyo Olympics in three-on-three half court basketball. She’s a guard with the Seattle Storm in the WNBA, but she hails from Huntington Beach in Orange County. 

“Three-on-three is pretty new to the international world. This is the first year that it’s going to be in the Olympics. But it is just like the games you see people playing outside at the park,” Samuelson explains. Additionally, the three-on-three games are played with a women's-size basketball (size 6) that weighs as much as a men's ball (size 7).

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Katie Lou Samuelson (#33) is a guard with the Seattle Storm in the WNBA, but she hails from Huntington Beach in Orange County. Photo by Neil Enns/Seattle Storm. 

To qualify for the USA team for the Olympics, players had to compete in a tournament over Memorial Day weekend in Austria. The women’s team made it through, but the men’s team did not qualify. 

Samuelson says during the pandemic, she was playing overseas in Spain, so she didn’t get to practice much with her three-on-three teammates. But they did a lot of training camps the year before the pandemic.

“Leading into this tournament though, we got together about a week before, and that was kind of the first time we played in any type of real games together. So it was definitely something that we had to adjust to quick [sic] with chemistry and all that. But by the end of the tournament, we felt like we were doing pretty well together.” 

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“Three-on-three is pretty new to the international world. This is the first year it is going to be in the Olympics. But it is just like the games you see people playing out at the park,” says Katie Lou Samuelson. Photo by Neil Enns/Seattle Storm.

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