Baseball and softball could inch closer to inclusion in 2020 Olympics

Japanese players celebrate a victory over the U.S. to win the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SOCHI, Russia — The International Olympic Committee could take another step this week toward getting baseball and women’s softball back into the Olympics as well as adding squash for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

New IOC president Thomas Bach said Monday he expects discussion by the IOC membership at its general meeting on flexibility toward adding sports, for which the Olympic Charter has a seven-year rule. It mandates sports must be on the Olympic program seven years before the summer or winter Olympics in which they will be contested.

“If the opportunity exists to make such adjustments to the Olympic Games less than seven years before, I would be in favor,” Bach said. “If the IOC, the international federations and the organizing committee agree, the seven-year rule need not apply.”


That Japan already has plenty of venues for baseball and softball and has a passion for both sports undoubtedly will factor into this decision, which may apply only to the Tokyo Olympics. Squash would have just 64 competitors and need only two courts.

Baseball had been in the Olympics from 1992 through 2008, softball from 1996 through 2008. Both were voted off the program in 2005, with softball losing its place by one vote.

Wrestling defeated both a joint bid by a merged baseball-softball international federation and the squash bid in voting last September for the one available place on the Olympic program.


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