Baseball’s Olympic future on the line

By John Schlegel
Updated: August 12, 2009

Olympics NEW YORK — Baseball’s future in the Olympic Games will be on the line Thursday when the International Olympic Committee meets to decide which two sports will be forwarded for final consideration in 2016.

The IOC executive board will meet in Berlin to decide which two of the seven sports being discussed will be raised to a vote for inclusion in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

IOC chairman Jacque Rogge said in June that only two sports will be voted upon by the full IOC session in its October meeting in Copenhagen.

Dr. Harvey Schiller, President of the International Baseball Federation, said baseball’s pitch to return to the Games after being removed from the Olympic programme for the 2012 London Games is as strong as can be.

“At this point, we are confident that we have effectively addressed all the issues presented to us as reasons why baseball was removed from the programme,” Schiller said in a statement.

Schiller said the sport is fully World Anti-Doping Association-compliant and already has contacted representatives of the potential 2016 Olympic sites in Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janiero and Madrid to ensure facilities would be in place.

“Regardless of Thursday’s outcome, we remain steadfast in using this experience in a positive manner to continue to grow the game on a global basis,” Schiller said.

“The leaders of the sport have shown the ability to work together for the good of all interested in playing and following the game, and baseball will continue to grow around the world, especially in all the emerging nations where it is just now beginning to take hold.”

The other sports being considered are softball, golf, karate, rugby, roller sports and squash.