The news on the Olympic baseball is that there is none. I will never stop grumbling about this. After being a fixture for just five Olympiads (1992-2008), this is the first since its exclusion.
You probably don't have to go too far into my Athens 2004 blog to know how much I enjoyed Olympic baseball, but its strength - the competitiveness coming from the absence of Major Leaguers - was also its weakness with the IOC.
Baseball and softball (also ejected commencing these Games) have submitted a joint bid for reinclusion in the 2020 Games, and have gone so far as to merge their international federations. They are hoping that a proposal for men's baseball alongside women's softball will satisfy the IOC's rules these days that Olympic sports must provide competition for both genders.
In September 2013 the IOC will vote for one sport to be admitted for 2020. Baseball/softball, as one, is up against karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu. I don't like their chances. The question of unavailability of MLB players won't go away. My gut feeling is that either roller sports or climbing will get up.
One sport that is here to stay is table tennis. Li Xiaoxia took the women's singles gold medal on Wednesday night when she defeated Chinese compatriot Ding Ning 11-8, 14-12, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4. The match, however, was marred by angry exchanges between Ding and umpire Paola Bongelli.
Here are some highlights from the 2011 World Championship final at Rotterdam in which Ding triumphed over Li: