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Baseball, softball will not return for 2020 Olympics

Sep 8, 2013, 3:14 PM EDT

The International Olympic Committee voted Sunday to include wrestling over baseball-softball and squash for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Nick Zaccardi has the story on NBC Sports’ OlympicTalk:

Olympic wrestling is saved.

The sport was voted for inclusion in the 2020 and 2024 Olympics by the International Olympic Committee on Sunday, seven months after it was recommended to be dropped from the Games.

Wrestling, part of the ancient Olympics and every modern Games save 1900, was heavily favored to beat out a joint baseball-softball bid and squash.

Wrestling won with a first-round total of 49 votes to baseball-softball’s 24 and squash’s 22. A majority of 48 votes were needed to win, or else it would have gone to a second round. The voting was done by secret ballot, just as Saturday’s 2020 host city election won by Tokyo.

“Thank you for this opportunity to save our sport of wrestling,” FILA president Nenad Lalovic said in wrestling’s presentation to the IOC at the Buenos Aires Hilton. ”Today is the most important day in the 3,000-year history of our sport. And believe me, we feel the weight of that history. Remaining in the Olympic program is crucial to our survival.”

Japan loves baseball and there are large stadiums throughout the country. But the sport unfortunately does not have a worldwide following and stood no chance against wrestling and its centuries-long Olympic history. Baseball debuted as a medal sport at the Olympics in 1992. It was dropped after the 2008 games in Beijing.

  1. raysfan1 - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Any chance of having baseball as a demonstration sport, similar to 1984?

  2. 4d3fect - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:33 PM


  3. dan46778 - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    If baseball goes back to the Olympics n they need help from MLB

    • dondada10 - Sep 8, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      MLB wouldn’t undermine its own WBC.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:08 PM

        I’d love to see MLB improve the WBC by shutting down MLB for a couple weeks every 4 years and having it be a truly great tourney with all the best in the world involved. The current format will never grab the interest of all fans like a true WBC would.

  4. hildezero - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    This ain’t surprising…

  5. dutchslinger - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Baseball and softball were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, not after the 2004 Athens games.

  6. clydeserra - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM


    I can watch the best baseball players in the world play baseball every summer.

  7. Reflex - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Wrestling never should have been dropped, I’m glad they came to their senses and reinstated it.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Agree. I’d like to see baseball and softball back, but wrestling needs to be there more. I guess I should just give up on the Olympic hope and embrace the WBC more (which I liked anyway). That means they need to make some WBC improvements though.

      • Reflex - Sep 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM

        I’m not really a fan of team sports in the Olympics anyways. I much prefer individual achievement as I feel that is in the spirit of the classical games. As you say, if I get into international baseball tournaments, I’d rather follow the WBC.

        I still hold out hope that at some point we could get an actual world championship, with the champions of each national league playing each other in a tournament to determine the best team in the world, rather than national teams playing each other. I know the logistics of that would be a mess though.

  8. redbearwoodall - Sep 8, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Just a reminder, everyone: today is wrestling superiority day.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 8, 2013 at 5:22 PM


  9. blacksables - Sep 8, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Baseball does have a world wide following. People who only think MLB is the the only baseball in town don’t understand that. But the people who enjoy ‘baseball’, and not just ‘MLB’ know that.

  10. hildezero - Sep 8, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Not really. Baseball is seen as a joke of a sport in a lot of countries especially in Europe.

    • blacksables - Sep 8, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      Wow, you couldn’t be more wrong if you actually tired to be.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 8, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Try reading about the Italian Professional Baseball League or the stadium and training complex being built in Hoofdorp, Netherlands (just outside of Amsterdam) which will be able to accommodate up to 30K before claiming Europe sees baseball as a joke.

  11. motherscratcher23 - Sep 8, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    i love baseball, but this is clearly the right decision.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:03 PM

      On baseball yes, but softball is a different situation and I’d put it back in the Olympics.

  12. hildezero - Sep 8, 2013 at 6:08 PM


    That doesn’t mean anything.


    What’s wrong? You don’t like hearing the truth? Knucklehead.

    • blacksables - Sep 8, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      Speak the truth and I’ll listen. But you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

      I know a lot about European baseball. Just because you don’t read about in the the American blogs doesn’t mean the Europeans don’t like it.

      And if you want to resort to insults, which I didn’t, you’re a complete dumbass. How’s that work for you?

      • historiophiliac - Sep 8, 2013 at 8:39 PM

        I called him a bonehead, when he called me a knucklehead. I guess we’re in a club together now.

      • blacksables - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:47 AM

        Don’t forget the leagues in Latvia, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, three in the UK, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Israel, among others.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      Ah, I see…
      A professional baseball league is formed in Italy, and that means nothing.
      A group invests millions to build a baseball stadium to seat 30K and training complex, with hopes also of attracting at least MLB exhibitions, and that means nothing.
      I assume the Irish league is also meaningless as are its thriving little leagues.
      All meaningless in the face of evidence to the contrary because hildezero wouldn’t talk out of his backside with no evidence, nor because he might consider anything short of the level of support baseball receives in North America and east Asia to be a joke.

      • blacksables - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        Don’t forget the leagues in Latvia, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, three in the UK, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Israel, among others.

  13. marcinhouston - Sep 8, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Synchronized swimming, synchronized diving, rhythmic gymnatics, horse dressage, etc have far less of an international following. Baseball is popular in North America, South America, and Asia, and has a following in Australia, so it is international. Thats just an excuse. The truth is that a European baron/count runs the IOC, its board is a majority European, and they get rid of sports that slow lazy Europeans don’t get results in.

    • blacksables - Sep 8, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      See, someone actually understands. Plus the fact that WADA owns the IOC.

    • cktai - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:37 AM

      The “slow lazy” Europeans were the first ever to beat Cuba in the olympics.

      This has very little to do with contintental politics and everything with the fact baseball does not send its biggest stars to the olympics.

      • blacksables - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        No, it has everything to do with WADA wanting to control the drug program for MLB, and they are refusing. And the fact that WADA owns the IOC.

  14. hildezero - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    So what? Like I said, that doesn’t mean nothing. Baseball doesn’t have a following internationally. Maybe you should take your head out your ass and notice. I’m a soccer fan, so soccer fans know more about other cultures especially in European. Europeans always make fun of American sports including baseball. Remember NFL Europe?

    • raysfan1 - Sep 8, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      Everyone knows baseball is not as popular in Europe as it is in North America. That is not what your original comment was. If it had been, the only response would have been “no duh.” Your comment was the Europeans consider baseball to be a joke. I cited evidence that it is in fact not a joke, has a following, and is growing. You have now replied with insults and assurances that the evidence means nothing. Your claim to knowledge is being a soccer fan.

      Well guess what? I’m a soccer fan too, lived in Germany for 4 years as a kid, and have travelled all over Europe…so you have zero special knowledge.

      So, is your point that baseball is still in its infancy in Europe and thus not as popular as here? In which case, thanks for the observation, Captain Obvious. Is your point that the sport being in its infancy in Europe constitute a joke? In which case, that opinion reflects far worse on you than it does on European baseball. Or, perhaps, you have indeed simply been speaking without knowledge and didn’t like getting called on it–so now you will stubbornly cling to the evidence-free assertion you made regardless of the evidence you are presented. I believe it is #3.

      Regardless, you are now boring me, so I leave the floor to you.

    • cktai - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:28 AM

      Baseball is definitely a growing sport in the Netherlands. My former club, for example, quadrupled in size since I joined there 8 years ago. My new club, which I joined after moving to a different city, has multiple youth teams and has a very active community. Every medium-large town has at least one or two clubs, and from my experience, most of them seem to be thriving.

      Last spring I was one of tens of thousands who woke up in the middle of the night to see the Dutch team play the Dominican Republic in the semi finals of the WBC. In 2011, I was one of tens of thousands who stayed up all night to see the Netherlands beat Cuba in the final of the last ever baseball world cup. We host two of the largest international baseball competitions in the world: the Haarlem Honkbalweek and the World Port Tournament. The latter might be known because thats where Aroldis Chapman defected in 2009 (which is a shame as I went to see Cuba a fews days after he walked out of the hotel). We have plenty of dedicated baseball fans, and I have never ever heard anyway make fun of the sport over here.

      Evidently, following soccer does not make you cultured, or understand “European”. Shocker.

  15. weaselpuppy - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I’ll still see plenty of baseball, and the French will continue to be French.

    Works for me. :)

  16. hildezero - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    XD You’re an idiot. Lol. I spoke the truth, you just don’t wanna listen. Baseball is a joke in Europe. Everybody makes fun of it. Baseball is a dying sport in USA. Ratings have been dropping for a long time now. Kids playing the sport in the youth level has dropped in popularity. Everybody in USA not just kids have move on from baseball to other sports (soccer being the protagonist). So if it’s like that in USA, imagine in the world. You old hags are so funny. Lmao.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Ohhhh! Did you see cktai’s post? Burn. Burn. Burn. In. Your. Face.

  17. hcf95688 - Sep 9, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    They should drop some of those weird dancing “sports” and add foosball.

    • bravojawja - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      and beer pong!

  18. spudchukar - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    What is stupid, is not including as many sports as possible. If curling can make it in the winter, Baseball ought to make it in the Summer.

  19. stlouis1baseball - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I am sooo glad wrestling made it. I am sorry it was at baseball and softball’s expense.
    But the Olympics aren’t the Olympics without wrestling.

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