World Cup of Softball to Boost BackSoftball Efforts

ISF President to Throw Out Ceremonial Pitch

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA  We recently had the opportunity to interview Don E. Porter, President of the International Softball Federation, the organization behind the BackSoftball campaign to help get softball reinstated for the 2016 Olympics. 
The ISF has been going to great lengths to prove that softball is an independent sport that is truly universal, promoting events across the globe including Africa and Asia. In addition, the ISF has 127 involved national federations world-wide and thousands of volunteers that educate many countries that aren’t familiar with the sport. They send over $3 million in softball equipment to over 70 countries annually. 
This weekend, ESPN will bring softball to the world as they televise The World Cup of Softball from Oklahoma City worldwide to 146 countries, thereby sending a clear message to the IOC about softball’s global popularity. ISF President Don Porter will be on hand and have the amazing honor of be throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. Read more.


Olympic Vote Draws Closer

Monumental Decision Right Around The Corner 

August is the month that matters most for Olympic Softball. This is the month that the short list of seven possible sports is slashed down to the final two to be presented to the IOC. Softball has been an olympic sport since 1996 but was cut from the program for the London Games in 2012. 
A six-member delegation, including former US Player Jessica Mendoza and current Australian Danielle Stewart, were in Switzerland to plead softball's case to the IOC. If Olympic Softball makes the cut, it along with a second sport will go head-to-head in a full vote by the IOC at their 121st session in Copenhagen to determine which one will be added to the roster of 26 sports for the 2016 games. Read more.


Japan's Growing Softball Dominance

Is America Losing Its Grip on the Sport of Fastpitch?

Last August, Japan shocked the world softball community by defeating the seemingly invincible American team for the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. That medal had belonged to the USA since 1996—when women’s fastpitch softball was first added to the roster of the Olympic Games—and the Americans were poised to win their 4th in a row before Japan swooped in and wrested it from their grasp. 
Reportedly, the Japanese had studied American superstar Cat Osterman’s pitching style in minute detail for years to break the “Osterman Code” and gain an advantage. 
But Japan’s offensive didn’t stop there. The country’s pro league is flourishing, and more and more of the USA’s finest players are heading overseas to play in it—including superstar pitchers Monica Abbott and Angela Tincher. Tokyo also currently tops the list of candidate cities to host the 2016 Games, which could see the reemergence of fastpitch on the Olympic program. 
Read more in our latest Softball Notebook article Japan: The Great Softball Caper; Is Softball Being Uprooted & Relocated Across the Pacific?


Japan Fights USA for Olympic Site

2016 Games Could End Up in Tokyo, Not Chicago

TOKYO, JAPAN When Japan beat the USA for the softball gold medal in Beijing, it shocked a lot of Americans who had underestimated the fervor for softball in the Land of the Rising Sun. But now the two countries have moved it up a notch—in a battle for the site of the Games itself seven years from now. 
Chicago put its best foot forward a couple weeks ago in front of the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission, and Tokyo wrapped up its presentation today. Both cities received high praise from the inspectors, who so far haven’t tipped their hats about a favorite—but in their summary statements about Japan, they openly lauded its strong economic position and financial guarantees to secure the budget. Rio de Janeiro and Madrid are also being considered. Read more. 
The site of the 2016 Olympiad is of great importance for softball fans, as it might herald the reintroduction of their sport into the Olympic program. If that happens, the organizers, coaches, players and fans of Team USA Softball would definitely like to have home field advantage—especially if they find themselves in a rematch with Japan for the gold medal. The final vote for the 2016 venue is less than six months away.


'Imagine' Olympic Softball in Chicago!

The Windy City Puts on Ad Blitz for 2016 Games

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS  Ladies and gentlemen, the International Olympic Committee’s inspection team has left Chicago. And it gave the city a glowing review—with the exception of the weather, that is; Mother Nature decided to dump several inches of snow on the visitors last Sunday. 
The IOC hailed the Windy City as an extremely strong candidate for landing the 2016 Games, but cautioned there are three other excellent bids to consider in Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, and there can be only one overall winner. 
Mayor Richard Daley and his staff pulled out all the stops for the IOC visit, including an appearance from Oprah and an “Imagine” media blitz featuring Olympic athletes beside the Chicago 2016 logo. 
While our heroine Jennie Finch did not actually appear on any of the billboards (as pictured in the artist’s rendering above) it COULD happen, and as early as October—IF Chicago is chosen as host city AND softball is reinstated as an Olympic sport for the 2016 Games. 
The final votes on these monumental decisions will take place at the XIII Olympic Congress & 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark on or about October 2nd. Chicagoans—and softball fans—are hoping US President Barack Obama decides to attend this important event, as that could make all the difference.