The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the return of baseball and softball to the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
Baseball was originally added to the Olympic Games in 1992, with softball following in 1996. In 2008, both sports were removed, and since them both federations have been campaigning vigorously for the return of their sports.
The return of softball could be a gold medal opportunity for the United States, which won the first three Olympic softball tournaments, compiling a record of 24-4 before being upset by Japan in the 2008 final.
Cuba won three of the five baseball gold medals. The United States won one gold medal, in 2000, and two bronzes.
“What a truly great day for the sports of softball and baseball,” USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress said. “For softball and baseball to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games program is a dream come true for many athletes across the world. USA Softball is proud to be the national governing body for the sport of softball and will continue to work diligently every day to promote our great sport of softball on the world stage.”
“The inclusion of the package of new sports will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to realize their dreams of competing in the Olympic Games – the world's greatest sporting stage – and inspire them to achieve their best, both in sport and in life,” Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said.
Four other sports — karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing — will also be a part of the program in Tokyo, approved by the IOC.
Still, the additions are only for 2020. Whichever city earns the right to host the Summer Games in 2024 will be able to propose sports of its own, which could be different and could replace some or all of the new sports set for Tokyo.
sources: www.nydailynews.com , www.latimes.com