Softball Returns to the Olympics

Fastpitch Reinstated for 2020 Tokyo Games

By TSC Analyst/Contributor Daniel Urban 
LOMBARD The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted to re-include softball in the Olympic program in 2020.  According to IOC vice president John Coates, the IOC executive board was unanimous in its decision to recommend the addition of five sports, including softball/baseball, to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  The other four sports are karate, surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing.

Softball was removed from Olympic competition following the 2008 Games in Beijing, breaking the hearts of millions of fans from both America—the perennial powerhouse—and around the world.  That sparked an eight-year grassroots campaign for reinstatement.

That tireless work has finally paid off.

The fact that Japan is a softball- and baseball-crazed nation sure didn’t hurt.  According to Coates, the five added sports represent a good balance between those that are very popular in Japan and those that better engage youth.

Adding to the drama is the fact that America closed out its Olympic career with a silver medal finish to Japan in 2008, so the thought of a rematch with the gold medalists on their home turf is almost too much to bear.

Only one hurtle remains: a confirmatory vote by the IOC general assembly in Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the 2016 Olympics.  Since the IOC executive board is forwarding a unanimous recommendation to the assembly, this should be a mere formality.

The opening ceremony is slated for August 5th, so we should know something definite by August 4th.  Stay tuned! Read more.