This is a letter in reply to Steve Buffery of the Toronto Star, for his article titled No Baseball, an Olympic-sized Mistake - http://bit.ly/NMSoYh
I will keep this is as brief as possible as I know you write for entertainment value, and not with the journalistic integrity expected from other papers. Some facts:
- Baseball and softball have limited global participation (in Beijing - 4 Asian teams, 3 Americas, 1 European). And, Baseball could not assure the world's best would participate in the Olympics. Softball lacks competitiveness; in all but one Games, the USA won gold. For these reasons, it was removed.
- Getting rid of Pentathlon would not make space for baseball. 72 athletes in Pentathlon, versus Baseball's 8 teams of 24 athletes (192) and Softball's (8 teams of 15 athletes).
- Pentathlon was one of the first sports to sell out in London. In Beijing, there were 40,000 people in the stands when I looked up.
- You allude to a rich mommy and daddy as a requisite for Pentathlon. Sadly sport is expensive in Canada, across all events. My parents saved every penny so I could compete, even remortgaging their home. Internationally many pentathletes serve in their military. Not typical moves of the elite last time I checked. By the way, you are welcome to train with me at my club, membership is 1200$/year. What did you pay for your kid to play hockey?
- Pentathlon is a small but growing sport in Canada as we don't have the tradition that built the sport elsewhere (limited military history). In fact we are shamefully limited in supporting summer sport as a whole. This is why it receives little TV attention as you mentioned - so Canadians do not have the opportunity (aside from the internet) to get exposure to the sport.
You ask for excitement - did our Women's Football team not provide this? Carol Huynh's repeat medal? Rosie's gold? You even contradict yourself in attempting to introduce your thesis - yes the Men's 8 medal was excitement!
Then you have the audacity to compare the sport the crime-challenged city of Mimico?
Your comments are unfortunate, as performance sport receives dismal attention as is, and you take this rare moment for the betterment of Canada's sports to belittle one of them.
It's not that Canadians or pentathletes are too busy with their "swords to read anything," it's that we spend our time reading pieces of substance.
You are the epitome of dated Canadian media; you will hibernate into NHL and MLBA action until just prior the 2016 Games before you appear again to share your uninformed and nasty opinions. You offend Canadian summer sport, Pentathlon, and me - someone who's been on the field of play; a place you are incapable of comprehending.
Take care and get enlightened. J