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Sports in the spotlight

Olympic sports in the spotlight: Beach volleyball and baseball

Beach volleyball The big names

Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are the defending women's gold medalists and three-time world champions, and have won 101 straight matches. China's Jia Tian and Jie Wang, who lost to May-Treanor and Walsh in the title match at last year's world championships, are their main competition. On the men's side, Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil will try to defend their '04 gold. Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers won the Olympic qualifying tournament and the '07 world championship.

The big events

The quarterfinals on, after pool play has banished the Latvians, Angolans and Georgians.

The biggest thing to know about it

NBC demanded that the Beijing organizers schedule what it considers its money sports so their competitions could be aired live in prime time in the United States. Those are swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball.

Baseball The big names

With big-name major-leaguers no longer playing, it's about the countries and their reputations: the United States, Cuba, Japan, Taiwan, Korea.

The big events

U.S. vs. Cuba in the preliminary round Aug. 15. Also in the early rounds, Cuba-Japan on Aug. 13 and China-Taiwan on Aug. 15. The gold-medal game Aug. 23.

The biggest thing to know about it

Baseball won't be part of at least the next Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee decided to drop it because it doesn't have much support in Europe (this year's eight-team field has one from Europe, the Netherlands). But the International Baseball Federation is lobbying to get it back in for 2016.

Sharon Fink, Times staff writer

Olympic sports in the spotlight: Beach volleyball and baseball 08/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 10:17am]
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