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Archive for Friday, July 8, 2005

Olympics drops baseball, softball

IOC votes to cut two sports from 2012 Summer Games

July 8, 2005

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— Baseball and softball, two sports invented in America, were dropped Friday from the Olympic program for the 2012 Games in London.

Each of the 28 existing sports was put to a secret vote by the International Olympic Committee, and baseball and softball failed to receive a majority required to stay on the program. The other 26 sports were retained.

"I think they've made a big, big mistake," said Tommy Lasorda, the former Dodgers manager who managed the 2000 U.S. team to the gold medal in the 2000 Sydney Games. "Baseball is played by all countries now and softball, too. I think that's really going to hurt the Olympics. I don't want to knock the other sports, but I think this is a big mistake. I am very disappointed."

The IOC will consider replacing them with two sports from a waiting list of five: golf, rugby, squash, karate and roller sports. That decision will be made Saturday.

Baseball and softball are the first sports cut from the Olympics since water polo in 1936.

Baseball has been vulnerable because it doesn't bring top major-league players to the Olympics. Softball has been in danger because of a perceived lack of global appeal and participation.

"The fact is that they shall not be included in the program of the 2012 Olympic Games, but it does not disqualify them forever as Olympic sports," IOC president Jacques Rogge said after announcing the result.

Rogge said baseball and softball would be eligible to win back their place in future games.

"I would like to invite the leaders of these sports that will not be included in the program to make their very best efforts during the coming years so as to be able to convince the session that they deserve to come back to the Olympic Games in 2016," he said.

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