Softball safe for 2008 Beijing Games
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced the reassurance that the sport of softball will remain on the Olympic program at least through the 2008 Beijing Games.
“We are thrilled to hear the news about the decision of the IOC to keep all current sports on the program through 2008,” Amateur Softball Association Executive Director Ron Radigonda said. “Softball continues to gain momentum and stature as a premier sport worldwide. Softball is played in over 120 countries and has strong regional competitions and participation. We are looking forward to the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and now with the decision of the IOC the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.”
The International Olympic Committee said, barring serious ethical violations or failure to uphold anti-doping rules, no sports will be dropped before the games of 2012.
The decision, announced by IOC president Jacques Rogge at the opening of a three-day executive board meeting, gives endangered sports more breathing space as they try to preserve their Olympic status.
Rogge said the IOC will review all the sports after this summer's Athens Olympics and decide on the 2012 program at its session in Singapore in July 2005. Meantime, the list of 28 Olympic sports will stay unchanged for Beijing.
Baseball, softball and modern pentathlon had been recommended for exclusion by an IOC panel in 2002. At a meeting in Mexico City, the IOC decided to put off a decision until after Athens, but Rogge said at the time the three sports could still be dropped for Beijing.
Softball was introduced to the Olympic Games program in 1996 where the U.S. took home the first gold medal on home soil in Atlanta, GA. In 2000, they battled back from three losses in Sydney, Australia to capture back-to-back gold medals. They are now in preparation for the Olympic Games in Athens in August 2004. Ranked No. 1 in the world for 18 consecutive years, the Red, White and Blue are currently touring the U.S. on an ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour consisting of collegiate and ASA grassroot opponents.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation's largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 91 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams and 40,000 umpires today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit www.asasoftball.com
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture back-to-back gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won seven World Championship titles including the last five consecutive.