Heading into the weekend, I cast some doubt on the hype for the modern pentathlon World Cup final, which included the peculiar boast that it was expected to draw a U.S. audience of 25 million on NBC Universal. I couldn’t even find actual broadcast info after checking several sources.
Then I suggested the following:
That probably wouldn’t go over well in the host city(ies) of Sarasota/Bradenton, where the local writeup headline is “Equestrian event ignites interest.”
In the morning, less than 30 spectators watched athletes begin their quest for pentathlon glory during the fencing and swimming events at the Selby Aquatic Center.
OK, granted, the fencing is hard to follow. And you can catch half (well, two-thirds, in a sense) of the pentathlon at one venue later in the day.
More than half the number of spectators that filled the grandstands to watch the show jumping portion of the event left by the time the combined running and shooting event started.
You know, if you just want to see show jumping, you can.
I had a lot of fun covering pentathlon in Beijing. Maybe one day it’ll be appreciated for what it is. Though this is a nice first step:
Best and worst from myriad sports this week:
BEST WORLD CUP PERFORMANCE
USA 4, Germany 1.
USA 2, Argentina 2.
OK, so it’s women’s field hockey, not men’s soccer. Still very impressive. And the USA is likely headed to its first World Cup semifinal in 20 years.
BEST U.S. TEAM PERFORMANCE INVOLVING A NET
BEST JUDO TRIP TO CUBA
BEST PERFORMANCE IN EMERGING SPORT
Is 3v3 basketball the next beach volleyball? Given the comparative histories of the sports, probably not. But the U.S. women continue to dominate, taking World Championship gold. The men lost in the round of 16 but got a bronze medal in the dunk contest.
BEST AQUATIC EVENT THIS WEEK
BEST AQUATIC PERFORMANCE BY 50SOMETHINGS
F#-A-E … A#? Or is Omar Gonzalez just using his ring finger to mute the G string? Or playing in alternate tuning?
BEST TRIATHLON TRANSITION
From short-track speedskating to long triathlon:
Scotland beat the USA in rugby, four injuries to nil.
– Ollie Williams’ Frontier Sports: More on Team Chris Froome vs. Team Bradley Wiggins, Rio promising clean water for sailing, first steps toward women’s Nordic combined, a triathlon misprint, Rulon Gardner forgetting he’s nearly my age.
– Daily Relay’s Monday Morning Run: The Tori Bowie phenomenon, some youngsters ready to challenge Mary Cain, decathlon champion Ashton Eaton blasting through the 400 hurdles.
– Team USA Sports Scene: More World Cup medals — in shooting this time.