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Legendary hoops coach Gomelsky dies

Aleksandr Gomelsky, the Soviet Union basketball coach who ended the 21-game winning streak of the United States at the 1988 Olympics, died yesterday after a long illness. He was 77. Gomelsky won four Olympic medals as Soviet coach, including one gold in Seoul, South Korea. He also won a silver in 1964, and a bronze in 1968 and 1980. He also led the Soviet team to two world championships and eight European championships. Known as the father of Soviet basketball and «Alexander the Great,» Gomelsky was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995. He served three stints as the national team coach, from 1958-60, 1962-70 and 1976-88. During the last stint, the Soviet team lost the 1987 European Championship final to hosts Greece in overtime. Gomelsky, born on January 18, 1928, in the Russian naval town of Kronstadt, began coaching LGS Spartak in 1949 in Leningrad. He later coached SKA Riga and CSKA Moscow. He won 15 league titles. Gomelsky, who more recently served as president of CSKA Moscow, also coached in Spain, France and the United States. (AP/Kathimerini)