Dellavedova and Australia aiming to beat US, Spain to gold medal in Rio

Australia are not in Rio de Janeiro to make up the numbers, with Matthew Dellavedova and Co. eyeing gold at the Olympic Games.

Ahead of the showpiece event in August, the Boomers have never won an Olympic medal, having missed just five of the Games since 1936.

Semi-final appearances in Sydney, Atlanta and Seoul have been the highlights for the Australians, who failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals four years ago, beaten by 14-time champions the United States.

But now boasting NBA-based players Dellavedova (Milwaukee Bucks), Andrew Bogut (Dallas Mavericks), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz) and Aron Baynes (Detroit Pistons), Andrej Lemanis’ Boomers genuinely believe they can go all the way in Rio.

“I think we have a great opportunity and we’re going there to win gold,” Dellavedova told Omnisport.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about from last year, what we talked about in San Diego, and what we’ve been talking about in our group message on WhatsApp, a good way to keep in touch.

“But we feel the time is right and we’ve had that chemistry and continuity for a number of years now and it’s a great group, we’ve all played around the world for a number of years at a high level, so we feel confident that we can go up against anyone.”

Before the Boomers can think about medals, they must first be one of four teams to advance out of Group A, which features defending champions USA, France, Serbia, Venezuela and China.

Australia open their campaign against France on August 6 and Bucks recruit Dellavedova is relishing the opportunity to compete at his second Olympics, having taken part in London 2012.

“I think the Olympics to me is the pinnacle of basketball. I grew up as a kid [and] that was my number one goal, I wanted to go to the Olympics and play in the NBA,” added Dellavedova, who helped the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA title in 2015-16.

“I think I was in grade four when the 2000 Olympics [in Sydney] happened, I was glued to the TV, just loved every minute of it. At London 2012 I was still in college, it was an unbelievable experience, one I’ll never forget.

“The one moment that will always be with me is when we walked out for the opening ceremony, just there was so much excitement with all the Australian teams from all the different sports. You walk down this pretty big tunnel and the whole stadium just starts opening up and you see the whole crowd and you’re doing the lap, it was just an unreal experience.”

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