Israeli-American coach David Blatt leads Russians to Olympic bronze in basketball


(JTA) — The Russian Olympic men’s basketball team, coached by Israeli-American David Blatt, took the bronze medal at the London Games.

The Russians defeated Argentina, 81-77, on Sunday for third place. The United States outlasted Spain, 107-100, for the gold medal.

For Russia, it was the country’s first Olympic medal in basketball since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Blatt, who is currently the coach of Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv team, has helped rebuild the Russian national team since being brought in as head coach in 2006, Sports Illustrated reported. Under Blatt, the Russian national team won the 2007 European Championship.

He played for Princeton University from 1977 to 1981 and on the gold medal-winning U.S. team in the 1981 Maccabiah Games. Following the Maccabiah Games, Blatt played for several Israeli teams until he was injured in 1993 and took up coaching.

Also Sunday, Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team finished last among the eight teams in the all-around group competition.

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