Sports

The 2016 Rio Olympics have come to a close with Americans earning 121 medals -- 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze -- their biggest haul ever, not counting the boycotted 1984 Los Angeles Games or the 1904 St. Louis Games, when hardly anyone else showed up.

Baseball, softball to return to Olympics in 2020

The last time softball was in the Olympics was 2008, when Japan defeated the U.S. in the gold-medal game. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
The last time softball was in the Olympics was 2008, when Japan defeated the U.S. in the gold-medal game. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday approved the return of baseball and softball to the Olympic program for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. The two sports, which had been eliminated after the 2008 Games, were restored only for the 2020 Games. 

The international federations that oversee baseball and softball had vigorously campaigned for the return of both sports to the Olympics. 

"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.'

Also approved for inclusion were karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing, in an effort to appeal to a younger audience. 

“We want to take sport to the youth," IOC President Thomas Bach said. "With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them. Tokyo 2020’s balanced proposal fulfils all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation that allowed it. Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

“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, 

 

 

 

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