jfinch27Happy #OlympicDay Ya’ll! Hoping & praying the Olympic Dream will come back for softball players all over the world! So thankful for my Olympic Dream becoming a reality, competing in two #Olympics with these incredible women! @usasoftball @Olympics#DreamBelieve
Jenny Finch on Twitter, June 23, 2015
For more than three years, softball legend Jennie Finch has led a worldwide campaign to reinstate softball and baseball into the 2020 Olympics. They came close in 2013, earned the second-highest amount of votes at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires, but finishing behind wrestling. Thanks to the new IOC president, a number of sports close to the hearts of the host country (and since it’s Tokyo, that would include baseball and softball) could be included.
Here is the Associated Press/USA Today report:
World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari today welcomed the news that men’s baseball and women’s softball have been included on the shortlist of additional sports (events) being evaluated by Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organizers for potential inclusion at the 2020 Games.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation was among 26 international sport federations to have submitted bids to Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizers earlier this month.
“This is a great day for our sport,” said President Fraccari, “today baseball and softball — and the millions of athletes and fans who call it their sport — reached first base. And on behalf of WBSC and the entire baseball and softball world, I would like to thank Tokyo 2020 and its evaluation panel for this opportunity to move into phase II. Being considered for the Olympic Games is a tremendous honor for baseball and softball, and the possibility of our athletes playing for their countries on the Olympic stage is a shared point of hope and excitement within our sport.”
As Tokyo 2020’s evaluation continues, the WBSC will be hoping to underline that adding baseball and softball to the 2020 Games in Japan — where baseball and softball are embedded in the culture, have existing facilities and are popular across both genders — can provide Tokyo 2020 organizers with another tool to shine the spotlight on the 2020 Games and on the host nation itself, optimising fan-, youth- and overall engagement nationally and internationally.
In August, presentations to Tokyo 2020 organizers will be made by the shortlisted international federations. Tokyo 2020 will have until 30 September 2015 to propose any new events to the International Olympic Committee. The final decision on the composition of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic sports program will be taken by the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.