OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992 -Update: Basketball: Less than dream-like

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THE AMERICANS have been beaten at basketball, but it was not, as many neutrals might have been hoping, the 'dream team'.

The women's team (the dreamettes?), who cut a swathe through the qualifying competition in much the same way as the men, blew their chance of a third successive gold medal at the quarter-final stage, when they lost 79-73 to the Unified Team.

The team was billed as the strongest ever put together by the Americans (which sounds vaguely familiar) but will now have to settle for a bronze - at best.

China will provide the opposition for the Unified Team in the final. Last night the Chinese recorded a 109-70 victory over Cuba who, like the Americans, had gone through the three-game preliminary series unbeaten.

As for the American men, their stay at the Games continues to be anything but smooth. Now there is a spat with their Olympic Committee, whose Leroy Walker wants them to move from their luxury four-star hotel to take part in the Village atmosphere (cramped, no air-conditioning). No chance.