Today the Korean baseball community celebrates “Baseball Day.” On this day, South Korea defeated Cuba for the gold medal in baseball during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics–the only gold medal of a team sporting event Korea has ever won. Korea is a county that takes the Olympics seriously, so seriously that the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) declared the day a day to remember.
It was also the final time baseball became an official Olympic sport. The IOC meeting in 2005 voted out baseball and softball from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Five years have passed, and baseball will be given a chance, on September 7 in Buenos Aires, to revive its status as an official sport for the 2020 games.
Under the catchphrase, “Again 2008, Restart 2020,” the KBO will utilize this year’s celebration to promote the great sport to regain its official medal status. All players and umpires will wear promotional patches, and every stadium will display the video clips of the 2008 gold-medal team on their scoreboards. Each stadium will also have promotional autograph appearances of former gold-medalists (Olympics and Asian Games) and representing players of both the home and away teams. Former medalists will be wearing their National Team uniform.
It is uncertain whether the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) is supportive of the KBO’s efforts. One thing for certain is that Korea counts the medal standings by gold medals won, and the nation as a whole is quite serious about their rankings. While baseball and softball bring uncertainty to their medal counts, wrestling has brought South Korea 33 medals (11 gold) since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.