Softball/Baseball Unsuccessful in Bid to Return to the 2020 Olympic Games Programme
Published by Gilles LeBlanc
Published on September 09, 2013
(Ottawa, ON) The World Baseball/Softball Confederation’s (WBSC) bid to return men’s baseball and women’s softball to the 2020 Olympic Games programme has been unsuccessful. The announcement was made following presentations by the three shortlisted sports of softball/baseball, wrestling and squash and a general vote that took place at the 125th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina today.
“We are deeply disappointed with the IOC’s decision not to include softball/baseball on the 2020 Olympic programme, but we will continue to strive to reach our goal to return to the Olympic Games” stated Softball Canada President Kevin Quinn. “Though our bid was unsuccessful, the interest in our sport continues to grow throughout the World and we are excited about all the upcoming events and initiatives on the horizon.”
Women’s softball made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta and the sport remained on the programme until the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, but was left off the 2012 programme following a 2006 vote by the IOC General Assembly that needed a simple majority but ended in a 52-52 tie with one abstention. In 2007, the International Softball Federation (ISF) launched the BackSoftball campaign to have softball reinstated in the 2016 Olympic Games, but the IOC Executive Board decided to only recommend golf and rugby to the IOC Session as the two new sports to be added to the programme.
In 2012, the International Softball Federation and the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) merged to form the WBSC to pursue a joint bid for Olympic inclusion. Following the ratification of a new constitution, the newly formed WBSC launched the Play Ball 2020 campaign, and baseball/softball was selected to the shortlist of sports to be considered for the 2020 Olympic programme.
“As joint partners in the newly formed World Baseball/Softball Confederation, the International Softball Federation and the International Baseball Federation have invested a great amount of time and resources in getting our sport back to the highest international sporting stage, and we would like to thank them for all of their efforts” continued Quinn. “We appreciate all of the hard work and support the baseball/softball community has given to our sport and we will continue to pursue our dream of returning to the Olympic Games.”
The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team successfully qualified for all four Olympic Games from 1996-2008, earning its highest finish of fourth at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Previous finishes were fifth in 1996 in Atlanta, eighth in 2000 in Sydney and fifth in 2004 in Athens. Canada has over 220,000 registered members in the sport of softball.
“On behalf of Softball Canada, I would like to congratulate wrestling on their successful bid to be added to the Olympic Games programme in 2020” added Quinn.
Softball Canada will be hosting a number of major international softball events in the next few years, including the 2014 ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Whitehorse, YK and the 2015 ISF Men’s World Championship in Saskatoon, SK. Men’s and Women’s Softball are on the programme of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, ON and the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Manitoba.
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