OTTAWA- A roadblock preventing baseball and softball from returning to the Olympic program in 2020 has now been removed as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved a reform to the framework of the Olympic sport program earlier today in Monaco to allow more than the standard 28 sports to be included in the games.
With the 2020 summer games set to take place in Tokyo, Japan, it is expected that the host committee will move to add both baseball and softball to the sport program. Both are extremely popular in Japan.
"The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) fully shares the IOC's vision of Olympic reform under President Bach, and stands ready to support and assist the Olympic Movement in implementing the reforms, wherever baseball and softball can help," WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said in a press release.
"Above all the Olympic Games is the world's most inspirational sporting event, and the Agenda 2020 reforms will inspire more young people and women, who are the future of all sports, to take up more sport and to participate in sport and in the values of sport, and make sport more relevant to the next generation, and as a catalyst for change in our communities and societies," President Fraccari said.
A decision to include baseball and softball in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could come as soon as next July at the IOC general session in Kuala Lumpur.
After making its debut as an official Olympic sport in 1992, baseball, along with softball, was removed from the Olympic sport program following the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Canada participated in the 2004 Olympics in Athens finishing 4th before taking part in the 2008 games.
To read the complete press release from the WBSC, please click here.