France, Turkey use hoops to heal their nations after attacks

From The Associated Press:

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — It’s been a difficult few months for the Olympic women’s basketball teams from Turkey and France. Both countries have been victimized by deadly extremist attacks, and Turkey is struggling with the aftermath of a bloody attempted coup.

For players on both teams, being at the Summer Olympics in Rio offers a respite from what’s happening at home – and a chance to show the world a united front.

“In France, we started to lose faith in people,” French center Isabelle Yacoubou said. “I hope these Olympics will show people how we can come back together. We are all here together. It’s not like some French, because you’re black or white, are against other French people. We are all French and fighting for the country. I hope this little time, we will find some joy and try to forget these bad moments.”

The teams played each other in their Olympic tournament opener Saturday, which Yacoubou thought was special. France opened with a 55-39 victory over Turkey.

Before the game, Yacoubou and her teammates stood proudly while the French national anthem plays . For the past few years, the players have had a tradition of facing their country’s flag with their arms around each other’s waists.

“With all that’s happened, for me it’s really special,” Yacoubou said. “Some crazy people did some crazy things. It’s very special to be proud of this flag and we show it in front of everybody.”

Yacoubou was deeply affected by the July 14 truck attack in Nice , which left 85 dead. She has a house in the area and spends time there every summer with her husband and son. She …

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