Will Baseball Be Back in the Olympics in 2020?

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Olympic organizers for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo released a shortlist of eight sports that may be added to the upcoming competition. Out of 26 potential new sports, the organizers selected baseball and softball (as a combined pair), as well as karate, wushu, squash, sport climbing, surfing, roller sports and—believe it or not—bowling. 

The federations of these potential new Olympic Sports will make presentations to the panel in August, and the event’s organizers will then make a final recommendation to the International Olympic Committee in the fall. 

The news follows their absence from the Olympics since Beijing’s 2008 games. The organizers emphasized the importance of youth involvement in the sports they chose for potential inclusion.

“The most important points were, does the sport have the support of the younger generation and how big is the population of the sport worldwide,” Fujio Mitarai told The Japan Times. Mitarai is the president of the games’ Organizing Committee and chaired the panel in Tokyo. Certainly for baseball, the answer to these questions is yes. 

Which sports didn’t make the cut? American football, for one. Several other relatively popular sports were rejected as well, including frisbee and polo. Korfball was also turned down, in addition to petitions for activities like chess and bridge. 

Athletes and coaches anxiously await decisions about their sports, particularly for baseball and softball. But a decision won’t be reached by the International Olympic Committee until August 2016, a full year later than was initially expected. 

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