Fans of baseball and softball around the world, rejoice!
Baseball and softball have just been reinstated to the Olympics!
Olympic baseball first appeared in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis and later appeared also in 1912 (Stockholm), 1924 (Paris), 1936 (Berlin), 1952 (Helsinki), 1956 (Melbourne), 1964 (Japan), 1984 (Los Angeles), 1988 (Seoul).
Baseball became an official Olympic sport in 1992 (Barcelona), and then continued to be a part of the Olympic program in 1996 (Atlanta), 2000 (Sydney), 2004 (Athens), and 2008 (Beijing). Women’s softball joined in 1996.
Cuba leads the medal table for Olympic baseball with 3 golds and 2 silvers, followed by the United States with 1 gold and 2 bronzes, and South Korea with 1 gold and 1 bronze.
Despite the fact that the baseball games drew record-breaking crowds to the Olympics, at the IOC meeting in 2005, baseball and softball were voted out of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, becoming the first sports voted out of the Olympics since polo was eliminated from the 1936 Olympics.
On August 3, 2016, the International Olympic Committee approved the return of baseball and softball to the Olympic program for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
While baseball is returning for the 2020 Olympics, there is no guarantee it will continue in the 2024 Games because the host city could replace it with another sport. If the 2024 Olympics are awarded to Los Angeles, it’s a good bet baseball will be there. But if one of the other three candidates — Paris, Rome and Budapest — get the Games, then it becomes less likely.
We agree with Jim Caple of the ESPN in that baseball should stay in the Olympics beyond 2020. It is one of the biggest sports in the world and it certainly deserves to be in the Olympics every bit as much as synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.
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