Some guys who cringe at the thought of watching the Olympics might want to think twice. Jennie Finch is one good reason to watch softball.
Soccer can be a sleep-inducing sport, the same guy wins all the swimming events, and the scoring system in boxing is a mystery. But softball is worth a look.
Softball is a sport the U.S. still dominates, for one thing. The Americans are a cinch to win when Finch is on the mound. She pitched four no-hit innings as the U.S. team started its bid for a fourth consecutive gold medal with an 11-0 victory over Venezuela.
The 6-foot-1-inch blonde, according to a story on nbcolympics.com, is “one of the world’s sexiest female athletes.” She’s also one of the most talented.
“I’ve never seen anyone throw the ball that hard, and with that type of accuracy,” said the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.
Finch, 27, has striking good looks and an ability to strike out major league stars.
“I’ve faced more than 35 major leaguers, and only two have ever made contact against me,” said Finch, who set an NCAA record with 60 consecutive victories while at Arizona.
Finch is the mother of a 2-year-old son, Ace. Her husband is Casey Daigle, a minor league pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization.
Sadly, this could be the last we see of Finch. The International Olympic Committee threw a wild pitch by eliminating softball from the 2012 Summer Games in London.
• MALI BEATS THE ODDS — The U.S. women’s basketball team defeated Mali 97-41 as Lisa Leslie shot 7-for-7 and scored 16 points. The result was a minor upset.
Mali beat the spread as a 60-point underdog at offshore books. The African team was without its top player, Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, who was injured.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times — never bet against Mali.
• GOLDEN RETRIEVER? — Shawn Johnson, a gymnast from West Des Moines, Iowa, is 16 years old, the same age as the only American Olympic all-around champions: Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson.
The 4-foot-9-inch Johnson describes herself as an animal lover. In her free time, Johnson said she likes to walk animal shelter dogs as part of her school’s volunteer program. She has a golden retriever named Tucker.
Johnson will be happy to know that — and unfortunately for Michael Vick — dogfighting was denied as an Olympic sport.
• NO FAMILY TIME — China is winning the gold medal count because its athletes train around the clock and rarely take a break, even for family.
Liu Chunhong broke three world records in the women’s 69-kilogram division, successfully defending her Olympic title to win China’s sixth gold medal in the weightlifting competition.
She was relieved to finally get a break from her rigorous training routine.
“What I want the most at the moment is to spend some time with my parents,” Liu said. “Since the last Olympics until now I have only spent six days with my parents.”
COMPILED BY MATT YOUMANS REVIEW-JOURNAL