About BTiell Sports Reports

Dr. Bonnie Tiell writes a monthly column for the Tiffin Advertiser Tribune Sports Department (http://www.advertiser-tribune.com/). This blog archives each column and dates back to the 2008 Olympic Academic Experience in Beijing, China. Check out the Blog Archives to read more. Check out info about the TU Olympic Academic Experience at http://www.tuolympics.blogspot.com/ and contact Dr. Tiell at btiell@tiffin.edu

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

September 9 - Tiger-Effect Demolishes Olympic Hopes for Softball

The world will learn on October 2nd whether Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, or Tokyo will be the site of the 2016 summer Olympics. Michelle Obama will travel to the IOC meetings in Copenhagen and speak on behalf of Chicago. Whichever city is selected, we’ll surely have another group of TU students there, but unfortunately, it’s almost certain that no one will be attending any USA softball games. Media reports speculate that another IOC vote a week later will confirm 7-man rugby and golf as the brand new sports for inclusion in the 2016 Games.

Rugby. Are you kidding me?

The IOC mandates emerging and new sports must cater to the inclusion of both genders. Softball really never had a chance considering its counterpart with baseball. If the USA baseball roster included Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez and Chipper Jones, you better believe the IOC would change its tune. Unfortunately, softball and baseball rosters filled with collegiate players and the likes of Jennie Finch and Jes Mendoza don’t pack enough star power to sway the IOC voters.
With the inclusion of golf, the IOC has their poster boy to generate media attention and ticket sales. Tiger Woods spoke directly to the IOC board which met in Berlin last month confirming his commitment to play in 2016 if golf were selected as an official Olympic sport. The potential financial gains from Tiger’s presence on global viewer shares, ratings, and sponsor ties are not even in the same league as any other sport on the ballot. No doubt, the Tiger-effect reinforces the inherent commercial value the Games have personified over the past three decades when the Olympics first started generating a profit in Los Angeles.

Why rugby? Interestingly, IOC president Jacque Rogge once competed on the Belgium national team. The sport speaks to a global world without dominance from the United States. Enough said.

Softball and baseball are out unless hell freezes over. Then again, case precedence is a great reminder that the Olympics are not withstanding of political drama in the form of bribery, scandals, impropriety, and general misconduct. Athletes are caught cheating at every stage, judges cheat (just ask the boxing and skating world), and officials have a sordid history of accepting bribes (say it isn’t so, Salt Lake City!). It’s almost a lock that softball is all but done with any chance of regaining popularity among the IOC voters.

Speaking of cheating, when did proving gender misrepresentation get so complicated? South Africa is crying foul when their new superstar sprinter was accused of having too many male hormones after shattering records in several women’s events at the International Track and Field championships in Berlin a few weeks ago. So far, gender testing (which ceased to be mandatory a decade ago) proved Caster Semenya was actually an “intersex” which essentially is a combination of a man and women since internal and external genitals can’t be distinguished. Supposedly, Semenya has three times as much testosterone as the average female and no ovaries. The IAAF which governs track and field will issue a ruling in November and the science world can figure it out from there.

So far no one has suggested any gender testing for the 6000+ runners who competed in Tiffin’s Cross County Carnival this month. I often play tennis at our treasure of a park and it was great to watch scores of busses come through this past week with high school runners who wanted to get a preview of the course.

Supervising 6000 runners and another 2000+ fans and volunteers requires tremendous logistical coordination. The same date as the Carnival, I scored tickets to attend another event that required just a bit more logistical planning to deal with its attendance figures. We’re talking OSU, baby. Yes, the night game when USC stole the show in the final minute to hush the record-setting 106,000 fans adorned in bright red. The other 300 fans were no doubt, the USC faithful including one and only, Will Farrell.

I have tailgated at plenty of universities in the south from the University of Georgia to Auburn to Florida State. The accents may be a little different, but the atmosphere is relatively the same. The only difference from my hay-days of tailgating to today’s comfort and convenience football party stations is the number of satellite dishes and flat screens that pop up everywhere. Amazing culinary delights, cold beer, traffic jams, and long restroom lines still dominate the tailgating scene and I can’t wait till the next one.

Stay tune for October when decisions rendered jumpstarts another cities’ six years of logistical measures to coordinate the world’s largest sporting stage for two weeks of fevered Olympic competition. I can’t wait for that, either!

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