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Lithuania would only claim one medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and that was on this day in sport.
Australia's John Dorge (left) is grabbed by Lithuania's Arvydas Sabonis during the playoff for bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Picture courtesy of Basketball Australia.
Australia's John Dorge (left) is grabbed by Lithuania's Arvydas Sabonis during the playoff for bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Picture courtesy of Basketball Australia.

The team would only feature three players who had International experience prior to Lithuania’s Independence from the Soviet Union.

However on paper the trio of Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Marčiulionis and Rimas Kurtinaitis was considered as basketball royalty.

A shaky 83:81 win over Croatia would be followed by back to back defeats over Argentina and the host nation therefore many fans feared for the worst.

Thankfully Artūras Karnišovas and Darius Lukminas would combine for 35 points in Lithuania’s 85:49 win over Angola before a final 116:55 demolition of China would be enough for the Baltic nation to advance to the group stage.

A total of nine Lithuanians would score double figures in that game, Saulius Štombergas was the leader with 19 points.

Quarter final round would see Lithuania victorious 99:66 thanks to the world famous Sabonis-Marčiulionis partnership however a Kurtinaitis’ 22 points would not be enough to see his nation conquer Serbia two days later.

For a second Olympic tournament, Lithuania was on a quest for the Bronze medal.

And, despite Australia’s push for a medal under Andrew Gaze, the Lithuanians would prove too strong (80:74).

Sabonis would score 30 points and keep his opponent Brad Dorge to a single point… on this day in sport.

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