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Baseball, softball will return to Olympics in 2020

By
The Sports Xchange

Baseball and softball are coming back to the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that the two sports will return for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. Baseball and softball were eliminated from the Olympic lineup after 2008 in Beijing.

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Other sports approved to be added were karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing.

"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.

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"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."

International federations for baseball and softball lobbied hard for their sports.

"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."

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The Tokyo Games are scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9, and it is unclear whether Major League Baseball players might be available to participate.

"Baseball and softball are global sports that belong in the Olympics," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. "We are grateful to the IOC Executive Board, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation for their collective efforts, which will allow fans throughout the world to again enjoy baseball and softball on the Olympic stage."

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