Saturday, August 23, 2008

South Korea win Olympic gold medal in baseball

Seconds after Chong Tae-hyon's final pitch that secured an Olympic gold medal for the South Korean baseball team, 23 of his teammates stormed the mound in jubilation, with 14 of them no doubt more ecstatic than the others.

Chong induced Cuban second baseman Yuliesky Gourriel to ground into a double-play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, putting the finishing touches on a 3-2 win at Beijing's Wukesong Baseball Field on Saturday.

Korea wasn't considered a medal favourite in the men's tournament, but went unbeaten in all nine of its games to win gold in its first-ever appearance in the Olympic final.

As a result, 14 members of the team won't have to report for two years of military duty.

Earlier Saturday, the United States doubled Japan 8-4 to win bronze after failing to compete for the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.

But it will be the performance by South Korea that will long be remembered as an upset in baseball's last Olympic hurrah for at least eight years. ◦

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