2008 BEIJING SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
Last Inning Nears for Olympic Baseball & Softball
By Tatiana Guertin on August 6,
[Picture] Beijing will be the last Olympic appearance for both baseball
and softball, unless the athletes have their way.
In 2005, both sports were voted out of the Olympic lineup for the 2012
London Olympics, but the athletes in both sports are fighting hard for
their return by 2016.
"It absolutely breaks my heart that the Olympics are done for
softball," said U.S. softball pitcher Monica Abbott. "The Olympics is the
end-all be-all for softball and we train for years for this. It is the
biggest thing in our sport."
The U.S. is leading the charge, with players trying desperately to save
their sport. What some might not know is that both sports are governed
globally by the U.S. And ironically enough it may have been the U.S. that
killed the sports in the first place.
[Picture] With Major League Baseball refusing to halt its season and
allow players to participate in the Olympics, and the constant problems
with steroids and doping charges, is it any wonder the International
Olympic Committee removed the sports from the lineup.
But, the IOC also took into account the length of the games. Baseball
and softball can go on for hours, and into extra innings, interfering with
the schedules of other sports. Also, the fact that the U.S. softball team
has never failed to take the gold medal, is a notch against the sport.
[Picture] The fact that one country can solely dominate a sport, in the
eyes of the IOC, means the sport is not common enough or competitive in
other countries, therefore it's unfair to other countries participating.
Still, the U.S. moves on, with ambassadors of the sport like U.S.
softball pitchers Jennie Finch and Abbot defending their place in the
Olympics. "This is my first Olympics," Abbott said. "I try to cherish and
enjoy every minute of it. I don't want to take anything for granted."
Still, Finch and Abbott have a long road ahead of them. Softball and
Baseball will have to compete against a number of other sports for a spot
in the 2016 lineup, including golf, rugby sevens, karate, squash and