GamesBids.com presents the seventh annual Top Ten list of Olympic Bid Stories for 2014. These stories impacted the course of Olympic bids, or the Olympic bid process, and formed interesting plot lines for the year. We’ll run them down from 10th to 1st during the holiday season.
#9 – New Bidding Rules Put Baseball On Deck for Tokyo 2020
Our #10 story highlighted how new Agenda 2020 bidding rules could be leveraged to retroactively move a venue from the host country. This story shows how approved proposals will help nations add sports to the Olympic programs of winning bidders.
Specifically in this case, a new IOC reform will allow host cities to propose a locally popular sport to be added to their Olympic program. The sport will need to fit within set Olympic standards and be officially recognized and later approved by IOC members.
The immediate winners “off the bat” are the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC), and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which would seem to be the perfect match for this sport program enhancement. Baseball is wildly popular in Japan and the nation has achieved great success on the international stage.
So why is this story on our top 10 bid story list? Baseball and Softball were officially on the Olympic program from 1992 to 2008 before being dropped amid complaints about universality. But the sports immediately launched bid campaigns for reinstatement at subsequent Games starting with a failed attempts for 2012 and 2016.
Then, the baseball and softball federations merged to take on wrestling, squash and other sports for 2020 only to fall short again when wrestling was readmitted to the program.
But with Thomas Bach elected as IOC President and his Agenda 2020 proposals approved, a new life for baseball and softball – at least for 2020 – has become likely.