With one week to go before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board determines a short-list of sports that may be included in the 2020 Olympic Games, Olympic Champion Jennie Finch urges support for her sport – softball.
The decision, to be made at the SportAccord convention in Saint Petersburg on May 29, will consider eight campaigning sports federations including karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboard, wrestling, wushu and a combined baseball and softball bid.
“Played in at least 140 countries at some level, softball is an incredibly diverse team sport developed for girls and women,” Finch said.
“At a time when it is increasingly recognized that a successful global economy is dependent on educating, empowering and including girls and women, it is crucial for the future of the many young women.
“Softball at the Olympics would be good for girls everywhere and good for society.”
After presentations from each sport next week, the IOC Executive Board can choose any number of sports that will be considered for an election by about 100 IOC members at a session in Buenos Aires in September.
“This vote is incredibly important for girls everywhere. It is vital for young women who are inspired and empowered by softball that the sport be placed in the Olympics, and receives the full support of the IOC,” Finch said.
WBSC co-President Don Porter said, “The historic merger with baseball, a process that took over two years to carefully work out, puts the athletes, universality, inclusiveness and gender equity at the forefront of our bid, and with the support of role models like Jennie, we are optimistic that it is the right time for baseball and softball to be re-introduced to the Olympic Games.”
Softball was last included on the Olympic Programme at the Beijing 2008 Games.