‘Modern’ pentathlon debatable

The use of the term "modern" to describe men’s and women’s pentathlon is deceptive.

Beach volleyball and bicycle motocross are modern.

An Olympic sport that includes competition in pistol shooting, epee fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping and cross-country running might have been modern when introduced to the fifth Games in 1912.

Today, it is archaic.

"It is also a little strange," Michael Vaccaro of the New York Post writes. "What is so modern about sword fighting and target practice? Granted, if Vince McMahon gets his hands on the sport, and has the participants turn the swords and guns on each other, it would be a pay-per-view bonanza.

"You imagine there were probably a few others who figured if it were a ‘modern’ competition the events would include a Grand Theft Auto (video game) round-robin, a seven-card stud tournament and the 4×100 hackey sack relay to go along with the swimming and the running."

Vaccaro challenges the International Olympic Committee’s decision for continuing the pentathlon while eliminating softball because it’s not popular enough worldwide.

"Are there modern pentathlon beer leagues in Budapest?" Vaccaro writes. "Coed slo-shoot tournaments on weekends in Warsaw?"

LAST PITCH — Jennie Finch, the face of USA softball since winning 2004 gold, never took the center of the diamond in Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Japan in the title game.

But she didn’t leave Beijing without making one final pitch.

This one was for softball to return to the Olympics in 2016 after being dropped for the 2012 Games.

"Over 140 countries play this game," she said. "The sport tests so many athletic abilities, from hand-eye coordination, to speed, to agility, to quickness. We’re finally at the pinnacle; we’ve finally been established. Please don’t take this away."

DOUBLE DUTCH — The Netherlands women’s field hockey team entered the Games as the world’s top team and then beat China on Friday for the gold.

That followed by two days the Netherlands’ last-minute victory over the U.S. to win the women’s water polo title.

It was the first gold medals for the country since 1984.

The previous major accomplishments for the Dutch were forms of jump-rope, chocolate and ovens.

PRIORITY KO — American Deontay Wilder was disappointed but not crushed after losing Friday in the semifinals of heavyweight boxing, finishing with a bronze medal. He was the only American boxer to medal, marking the worst U.S. team performance in Olympic boxing since 1948.

Now, Wilder just wants to return to his Alabama home and share his bronze medal with 3-year-old daughter Naieya, who has spina bifida.

"A lot of people don’t know what it is," Wilder said of spina bifida, a birth defect in which the spinal cord develops improperly. "People know the story she has now, and my being here made it even more known."

His main goal was accomplished before stepping into a ring.


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