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2008  Beijing Summer Olympics

2008 Summer Olympics - The Results (Softball)

Softball at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games

 

 softball

Host City: Beijing, China
Date Started: August 12, 2008
Date Finished: August 21, 2008
Events: 1

Participants: 120 (0 men and 120 women) from 8 countries
Youngest Participant: NED Britt Vonk (17 years, 124 days)
Oldest Participant: VEN Zuleyma Cirimele (41 years, 79 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 45 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal

Overview

In July 2005, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to remove softball, alongside baseball, from the Olympic Program, which, after several appeals, was finally confirmed at an IOC Executive Board meeting in August 2009. Thus, this was to be the last Olympic softball tournament, although baseball and softball have re-applied several times, and there is discussion that they may be admitted to the Olympic Program in 2020 at the Tokyo Olympics, where the sports are very popular.

The 2008 venue was the Fengtai Tiyu Zhongxin Leiquichang, or the Fengtai Sports Center Softball Field. This was an older venue that had been used for the 1990 Asian Games and the 1992 World Cup, although it was renovated in 2006 for the 2008 Olympics.

The format was the same as in 1996-2004, with a round-robin tournament followed by a Page System play-off. In the Page System, there were two semi-finals. One semi-final matched the third- and fourth-placed teams, with the winner advancing to the final, and the loser being placed fourth. The other semi-final matched the first- and second-placed teams, with the winner advancing to the grand final, and the loser playing the winner of the first semi-final in the final. The winner of the final then advanced to the grand final, playing the winner of the second semi-final.

There were again eight teams, as in 1996-2004, who qualified as follows – host nation China; the top four teams from the 2006 World Championships (United States, Japan, Australia, Canada); Chinese Taipei from an Asian/Oceanian Qualifying Tournament; the Netherlands from a European/African Qualifying Tournament; and Venezuela from the Pan American Qualifying Tournament.

If the IOC was worried that US-dominance made the sport unfit for the Olympic Program, they could have waited until the results of the 2008 Olympics, as the United States lost the gold medal for the only time in Olympic history, after winning in 1996, 2000, and 2004. Although the US was undefeated in the round-robin and won their semi-final over Japan, Japan advanced into the grand final with a victory over Australia, and then defeated the American team, 3-1, to win the gold medal.

Softball at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing took place over a ten-day period starting August 12 and culminating in the medal finals on August 21. All games were played at the Fengtai Softball Field. Olympic softball is a women only competition, with men competing in the similar sport of baseball.

This is the most recently contested softball tournament in Olympic history, as the International Olympic Committee voted to remove baseball from the program in the 2012 Olympics. Along with baseball, softball was rejected for inclusion in the 2016 Summer Olympics at the IOC's meeting in October 2009.[2] However, following a 2016 IOC vote, softball will again be conducted for the 2020 Games.

Women's Softball

Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Fengtai Sports Center Softball Field, Beijing
Date Started: August 12, 2008
Date Finished: August 21, 2008
Format: Round-robin tournament, with the top four teams progressing to classification round.

Summary

Softball had been on the Olympic Program since 1996 and had been dominated by the United States’ teams. Since 1970 the US had won every World Championship except in 1982, when New Zealand triumphed, and they had been undefeated in international tournaments since that defeat. At the Olympics, the US had won all three of the previous gold medals. In 1996 and 2004 they had been unchallenged, winning every game, and in 2004, it had reached almost laughable proportions, winning nine games by a total score of 51-1. In 2000, they had struggled somewhat, losing three games in pool play, but had still recovered to win the gold medal.

In 2005, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) began an investigation into the sports on the Olympic Program. Several new sports, including golf, rugby sevens, and karate, were attempting to get onto the Olympic Program and the IOC wanted to keep the program stable in terms of number of sports. If it was going to add any new sports, some older sports would have to be removed from the Olympics. Baseball was felt to be at risk to be removed, because of doping problems in the American professional leagues, because the top American professionals from Major League Baseball did not play in the Olympics, the relatively high cost of constructing a baseball stadium that would not be used in many countries, the relatively few number of nations that competed internationally at a high level, and since – all criteria the IOC considered important. Softball was felt to be safe – the top players all over the world competed, there had been no doping scandals, Olympic softball was the biggest title in the sport, and further, as a female-only sport, it helped maintain gender balance in the program. But when the IOC met to reconsider the Olympic Program, an unusual thing happened. No sports were added to the Olympic Program but two were to be removed – baseball and softball. In the end it was felt that softball was lumped in with baseball, and cast out with that sport because of the problems with baseball. The only problem that softball had was that it was dominated by one nation, and that nation happened to be the United States, which had little support from the IOC at that time. After multiple appeals, it was finally decided in August 2009 at an IOC Executive Board meeting that softball (and baseball) were off the Olympic Program after the 2008 Olympics.

So Beijing was to be the final Olympic softball tournament. And it started out as they all had – with the US team winning easily. In round-robin play, the USA played seven games, and won seven games, and the margin was even more than in Athina – they won by a combined score of 53-1. In the semi-finals the United States defeated Japan, 4-1, after beating them 7-0 in pool play. Japan then advanced to the grand final against the US by defeating Australia, 4-3 in 12 innings. And in the grand final, something unusual happened – Japan won the gold medal by defeating the US 3-1. The Japanese were exultant while the American players looked lost – they had no conception of how to react to losing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rosters

   
 Japan  United States  Australia
Athlete Age
Naho Emoto 22
Motoko Fujimoto 27
Megu Hirose 27
Emi Inui 24
Sachiko Ito 32
Ayumi Karino 23
Satoko Mabuchi 26
Yukiyo Mine 20
Masumi Mishina 26
Rei Nishiyama 24
Hiroko Sakai 29
Rie Sato 27
Mika Someya 25
Yukiko Ueno 26
Eri Yamada 24
Athlete Age
Monica Abbott 23
Laura Berg 33
Crystl Bustos 30
Andrea Duran 24
Jennie Finch 27
Tairia Flowers 27
Vicky Galindo 24
Lovie Jung 28
Kelly Kretschman 28
Lauren Lappin 24
Caitlin Lowe 23
Jessica Mendoza 27
Stacey Nuveman 30
Cat Osterman 25
Natasha Watley 26
Athlete Age
Jodie Bowering 26
Kylie Cronk 24
Kelly Hardie 38
Tanya Harding 36
Sandy Allen-Lewis 29
Simmone Morrow 31
Tracey Mosley 34
Stacey Porter 26
Melanie Roche 37
Justine Smethurst 21
Danielle Stewart 27
Natalie Titcume 32
Natalie Ward 32
Belinda Wright 27
Kerry Wyborn 30
 Canada  Chinese Taipei  China
Athlete Age
Lauren Bay-Regula 26
Alison Bradley 29
Erin Cumpstone 27
Sheena Lawrick 25
Danielle Lawrie 21
Caitlin Lever 23
Robin Mackin 20
Noémie Marin 24
Melanie Matthews 22
Erin McLean 22
Dione Meier 26
Kaleigh Rafter 21
Jennifer Salling 21
Megan Timpf 24
Jennifer Yee 21
Athlete Age
Chen Miao-Yi 25
Chiang Hui-Chuan 27
Chueh Ming-Hui 23
Hsu Hsiu-Ling 26
Huang Hui-Wen 28
Lai Meng-Ting 24
Lai Sheng-Jung 29
Li Chiu-Ching 25
Lin Su-Hua 27
Lo Hsiao-Ting 26
Lu Hsueh-Mei 20
Pan Tzu-Hui 25
Tung Yun-Chi 26
Wen Li-Hsiu 25
Wu Chia-Yen 28
Athlete Age
Guo Jia 27
Lei Donghui 24
Li Chunxia 31
Li Qi 24
Lu Wei 25
Pan Xia 26
Sun Li 27
Tan Ying 26
Wu Di 26
Xin Minhong 29
Yu Huili 25
Yu Yanhong 32
Zhang Ai 26
Zhang Lifang 26
Zhou Yi 25
 Venezuela  Netherlands  
Athlete Age
Yuruby Alicart 22
Mariangee Bogado 24
Marianella Castellanos 24
Zuleyma Cirimele 41
Denisse Fuenmayor 29
Johana Gómez 19
Bheiglys Mujica 18
Yusmary Pérez 27
Jineth Pimentel 22
Geraldine Puertas 20
Maribel Riera 28
Mayles Rodríguez 19
Rubilena Rojas 26
Yaciey Sojo 21
María Soto 30
Athlete Age
Judith van Kampen 29
Noémi Boekel 24
Daisy de Peinder 31
Kristi de Vries 26
Marloes Fellinger 26
Sandra Gouverneur 31
Kim Kluijskens 24
Saskia Kosterink 23
Jolanda Kroesen 29
Marjan Smit 32
Rebecca Soumeru 26
Nathalie Timmermans 19
Petra van Heijst 23
Ellen Venker 24
Britt Vonk 17
 

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