USA men’s wheelchair basketball defeats Spain to win Paralympics gold in Rio

Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images
Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

USA completed a basketball sweep in Rio de Janeiro as the men’s wheelchair team defeated Spain 68-52 on Saturday to win gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

The U.S. men remained unbeaten throughout the Rio tournament, and won their championship one day after the women’s wheelchair team went undefeated to take back the gold from Germany.

Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

This is the first time U.S. men have won wheelchair basketball gold at a Paralympics since 1988 in Seoul. They earned the bronze medal four years ago in London, finished seventh in 2004 and fourth in 2008.

“This is an incredible moment for our team, and to do it in this way, where it wasn’t just one guy — Jake [Williams] had a great game today for sure — but it was a full team effort to get the win. I couldn’t think of a better group of guys that I’d want to share this experience with. I’m so incredibly happy right now,” team co-captain and three-time Paralympian Steve Serio said after the game.

“I just found out that this was the first time that Team USA swept the men’s and women’s gold for the Olympics and Paralympics. So all four gold medals — that is quite the accomplishment," Serio continued. "I think it speaks to how popular and awesome our sport is in our country. Hopefully this medal for both our men’s and women’s Paralympic teams increases the awareness for our sport and we can take the momentum from here and go on to Tokyo."