Dropped from the London Games seven months ago, women's softball and baseball got a second chance Thursday to make a case for reinstatement. The result, though, was the same: The European-dominated International Olympic Committee rejected pleas from two very traditional American sports.
"I am shocked and deeply disappointed," said Dot Richardson, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in softball. "It's a shame that politics between nations will affect in a negative way the future dreams of young girls and young women."
The result was a victory for IOC president Jacques Rogge, who felt that overturning a vote taken just seven months ago would damage the committee's credibility and set a bad precedent.
"There was a solid faction that didn't want the IOC appearing that they would flip on issues," American member Robert Ctvrtlik said.
It was a sharp setback for the United States, whose clout in the international Olympic movement has been in decline. A further test comes today when two Americans - Jim Easton and Anita DeFrantz - contest seats on the IOC's policy-making executive board.
"I think anti-Americanism was a factor," International Softball Federation president Don Porter said.
The two sports remain on the program for the 2008 Beijing Games, and can apply for reinstatement in 2009 for the 2016 Olympics.
"We will work with them at the Olympic Games at Beijing and see if there's a chance to come back," Rogge said.
London, meanwhile, is left with 26 sports on the 2012 program, two short of the maximum.