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Baseball, softball agree on name for Olympic bid: World Baseball Softball Confederation

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Baseball and softball leaders have agreed on a name for the new unified international body seeking a place in the 2020 Olympics.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation will govern both sports in their joint bid for a return to the games.

The name was announced Monday following approval of the merger by the International Baseball Federation and International Softball Federation.

The group will be led by co-presidents Don Porter and Riccardo Fraccari. Porter is current president of the ISF; Fraccari heads the IBAF. Both men are in Lausanne this week for presentations to the IOC program commission.

Baseball and softball, voted out by the IOC in 2005, were last played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Karate, roller sports, squash, sport climbing, wakeboard and wushu also are vying for 2020 Olympic inclusion.

The IOC will vote in September.



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'Innovation' Leads IOC Bid Presentation
Dec 19 2012

The World Squash Federation (WSF) today presented its case for Squash to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games to the International Olympic Committee's Programme Commission. The delegation was led by WSF President N Ramachandran, and featured PSA world No1 James Willstrop, WSF CEO Andrew Shelley, and junior player Reyna Pacheco.

President Ramachandran said: "Our presentation set out to show that squash has been on a journey of innovation over recent years. Developments such as state-of-art all glass courts, under floor lighting, referee video review, side court entrances, and improved in-venue presentation have all led to a dramatic change in the broadcast and fan experience.

"We also stressed the global reach and appeal of the sport. All five continents have produced both male and female world champions, and the current women's top 20 features players from 12 countries spread across every continent. There can be no doubt that if squash were to be included in the Olympic Games Programme it would provide more countries with a chance to be on the medal podium.

"It was a great session," added Ramachandran. "The Programme Commission showed a real interest in the development of our sport."

The WSF also unveiled its Squash 2020 bid film today, which captures the excitement and recent innovations in the sport, and what Squash would bring to the Olympic Games. Featuring two of the game's most exciting players - Malaysia's Nicol David, currently bidding to win a record seventh world title, and Egypt's Ramy Ashour, the newly-crowned PSA world champion - the film was one of three shown as part of the WSF presentation to the IOC Programme Commission.

James Willstrop said: "Squash represents the essence of Olympic sport. It's gladiatorial given that we are the only racket sport where players share the same space, and to excel requires a mix of mental strategy, skill, athleticism and fitness. In the past few seasons there has been a revolution in the way squash is presented to spectators. MCs, music and lighting have really helped to get the fans involved - and that's great for players.

"I'm 29 years old so my dream to compete in the Olympic Games may never be realised, but if I can play a part in helping squash become part of the Olympic Programme, I could even retire a happy man."

One of the highlights of the presentation was the story of Reyna Pacheco and how squash has helped change her life.

Reyna Pachero, who was born in Mexico, now lives in the United States and became the highest ranked Urban player in US Squash, added: "My mother brought my older brother and myself to the United States when I was four. We were illegal immigrants, I grew up with very little at home and I didn't believe there was much I could achieve. My life was completely transformed when Squash was introduced to me.

"Squash hasn't just turned my life around - it probably saved my life. It inspired something in me that created a whole new path for me and recently led to me being awarded a scholarship from the Bill Gates Foundation to attend Columbia University. Perhaps one day I may even be able to realise my dream and share my story with the world as an Olympian in the 2020 Games."

Highlighting the technical qualities of squash Andrew Shelley, WSF Chief Executive, said: "The format we have proposed to the IOC Programme Commission is Men's and Women's Singles Championships involving 32 male and 32 female players. Matches would take place on two state-of-the art all glass courts, each with a capacity of up to 4,000 spectators, utilising steep seating to create a really strong arena affect and great atmosphere. Squash would be easy and low cost to integrate into the Olympic Games, with just 64 athletes, two competition courts that can be built in a matter of days, and only 20 officials.

"Squash also has the advantage of sharing a venue if required, or being staged in an iconic, visually stunning environment and our sport has a track record of doing exactly this. For example, in front of the Pyramids, alongside Hong Kong Harbour and at Grand Central Station in New York."


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I would rated Squash as one of the more widespread and universal sports being proposed.

I would agree with that. Squash and Karate. What my statement was getting at was the very good medal potential countries is not a tremendously high amount. Look at the men's rankings 3 nations in top 10. Then again golf has less but imo it shouldn't be on. If anything they should add Karate and Squash with the latter replacing table tennis or badminton

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I would agree with that. Squash and Karate. What my statement was getting at was the very good medal potential countries is not a tremendously high amount. Look at the men's rankings 3 nations in top 10. Then again golf has less but imo it shouldn't be on. If anything they should add Karate and Squash with the latter replacing table tennis or badminton

The top 10 is a bit more diverse on the women's side, with athletes from Malaysia, England, Egypt, New Zealand, Hong-Kong, Ireland and India. Overall it's a really good balance between strong Asian, African and European countries with Canada and Oceania historically producing strong players. Not only that, but it's a sport that is fairly strong in Africa, a continent that is chronically under represented outside of Athletics.
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Wakeboard Makes Comprehensive Bid For 2020 Games Inclusion To The Olympic Programme Commission In Lausanne Switzerland


The Olympic Programme Commission is responsible for reviewing and analyzing the programme of sports for the Olympic Games. On Wednesday, December 19th 2012, seven sports which were earlier shortlisted for possible inclusion in the 2020 Games, were each invited to make a presentation to the IOC Programme Commission in Lausanne Switzerland. This was a major opportunity for all to put their case to the Commission.

Wakeboard, a fast growing exciting youth focused lifestyle sport, was one of these shortlisted disciplines. Driven by an electrically power cable system, the environmental advantages and low entry costs are clear. The International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) assembled a strong and experienced international team to present their case to the members of the IOC Programme Commission. This team comprised Kuno Ritschard SUI, IWWF World President, Gill Hill GBR, Secretary General IWWF, Des Burke-Kennedy IRL, IWWF Chairman Marketing & Media, Varna Laco CRO, Chairman Cable Wakeboard World Council, Argy Daskapalous SIN, Chairman Asia Cable Wakeboard Council and Daniel Fetz AUT, World Athletes Cable Wakeboard Representative.

The IWWF team was allotted time to make a twenty minute presentation to the Commission members, including a live video commentary by the experienced Wakeboard rider and Athletes Representative Daniel Fetz. The actual time recorded was 20 minutes and 20 seconds ! If 2020 is to be the year when Wakeboard becomes an Olympic sport, perhaps this is a lucky omen ! This was followed by a very detailed ten-minute question time which was introduced by the Programme Commission Chairman, Franco Carraro ITA.

Following the presentation which was well received by the Commission, IWWF President Kuno Ritschard stated "We greatly appreciated this opportunity provided by the IOC and strongly believe that Wakeboard would certainly bring a great deal of added value and excitement to the Olympic programme" While the final decision on the selected sport for the 2020 Games will not be announced till September 2013, the IWWF Team is expected to return to Lausanne in May 2013 to meet the Executive Board of the IOC for further discussions.


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Wushu wooing IOC for 2020 Olympics bid

The pure commercial potential of wushu puts the Chinese martial arts in serious contention for 2020 Olympic Games inclusion, according to the sole Australian on the sport's bid committee.

Wushu is one of eight sports pitching for inclusion in the Olympic program alongside squash, karate, roller sport, climbing, wakeboarding, and the joint bid from baseball and softball.

Despite being the national sport of China's 1.34 billion people and having roots more than 4,000 years old, wushu is a mystery to most Australians.

But partly due to terminology.

Wushu was originally known popularly by the Cantonese term kung fu, which was made famous by martial arts legend Bruce Lee in a series of Hollywood-produced films - including The Way of the Dragon - in the early 1970s.

In Mandarin, the term wushu literally translates as "wu" meaning military and "shu" meaning art.

Wushu has since been distinguished as an aesthetic performance and competitive sport - which resembles rhythmic gymnastics - while kung fu remains the traditional fighting practice.

Routines are performed solo, paired or in groups, either bare-handed or armed with traditional Chinese weaponry.

Male and female competitors are judged and given points according to the speed, difficulty and presentation of their stances, kicks, punches, balances and jumps.

While it will take time to educate Australians about the intricacies of the sport, Wushu Australia honorary president Walt Missingham believes the IOC won't be able to deny the pull of the dollar when it comes to considering the sport's Olympic inclusion.

"The Olympic movement is driven very much by television audience," said Missingham, who produced the documentary The Intercepting Fist about Bruce Lee's life.

"Wushu would bring multiple hundreds of millions of people in China and the greater Asia region into TV.

"And with that it brings in new sponsors, it opens up avenues for companies to do business in China.

"And you can't ignore China's political and economic clout on the global stage and the Olympic Games is very light on in terms of Asian sports."

When pressed on whether the commercial aspect was a motivating factor for the IOC, wushu's Olympic bid committee member Missingham was matter of fact.

"Do we deal with the reality or the public perception?" he said.

"If there's anyone out there that truly doesn't think the Olympic Games is highly motivated by the commercial imperative, I'm sorry, but they're on the wrong planet.

"It's a multi-billion-dollar exercise.

"In fact, without money, the Olympics simply cannot function.

"In tandem with that, you've got to take on board the reach of wushu not just into China and greater Asia, but into the African nations too where wushu is very popular.

"So you have two significant continents that are desiring that wushu be included.

"Those reasons weigh very heavily in favour of wushu getting the guernsey for the 2020 Olympics."

Australia won its first medal at the world junior wushu championships in Macau in September in the men's Duilian (dual) event when Joshua Lim and Reuben Woon claimed bronze.

At the world wushu championships in Turkey in 2011, 63 countries were represented by 226 male and 98 female athletes, with China, Iran and Russia proving the strongest nations.

Australia sent 10 athletes, with the best result Elizabeth Lim's ninth in the women's Nangun category using a long weapon.

A maximum of 28 sports will be permitted at the Olympics and this will be reached at Rio in 2016 with the inclusion of golf and rugby sevens.

Therefore at least one sport will need to be axed to make room for any of the eight bidding sports.

The IOC will make a final decision on which sports will be included in the 2020 Games program next September in Buenos Aires.


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Squash leader pushes bid for Olympic inclusion

LONDON (AP) -- The leader of squash's governing body doesn't consider wrestling a ''big threat'' as eight sports fight for a single spot in the 2020 Olympics.

World Squash President N. Ramachandran told The Associated Press on Friday he is confident his sport can win its bid for inclusion despite the high-profile support wrestling has received since being dropped by the IOC executive board last month.

''Everybody knew one sport was going to get dropped,'' Ramachandran said. ''Be it any sport that was taken off, you'd have had the same hype. You would have had the same people, the supporters of that particular sport complaining that their sport should not have been dropped.''

Wrestling's exclusion triggered a backlash around the world, with officials in the United States, Russia, Iran and other countries leading a push to bring the sport back. The influential associations of national Olympic committees and international federations have supported wrestling's return.

''Any sport would have done that,'' Ramachandran said. ''If you have been in the Olympics long enough, you definitely have the support of many countries, many IOC members and so forth. So any sport that would have gone out would have caused a backlash. Everybody knew that one sport would go out. I don't see that as a big threat.''

Wrestling, which dates back to the ancient Olympics and the first modern games in 1896, has changed leadership and is making rules changes in a bid to win reinstatement.

Squash and wrestling are among the sports that will make presentations to the IOC board on May 29 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The others are a combined baseball-softball bid, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and the martial arts of karate and wushu.

The board will select one or more to submit for final consideration to the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

''My job is to promote the sport of squash and that is what I'm doing,'' Ramachandran said. ''I concentrate on my sport and I leave it at that.''

Squash is bidding for a third time to get into the Olympics. It failed in 2005, when the IOC voted not to accept any new sports, and again in 2009, when rugby and golf won inclusion for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Ramachandran said squash has learned its lesson.

''We have totally changed the sport on its head,'' he said. ''The last time, we bid for the sport in the Olympics but we had not changed our sport to suit the standards of the IOC.

''Now we have done that, we have spoken to the IOC, we have improved our sport and the result is there for everybody to see. It is totally different from what existed two or three years ago.''

Among the improvements, Ramachandran cited the use of glass courts, referee video reviews, a new scoring system and state-of-the art television technology that allows spectators to see the ball more clearly.

''The game has been totally transformed in the last two or three years,'' he said. ''Where there was possibly a downward trend in the people playing squash, that has been rectified. The sport is more attractive for youngsters and this has resulted in a renaissance for squash.''

Squash is already played in the Pan American Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Games and Youth Olympics.

Ramachandran said the sport is ''cheap'' to include in the Olympics, with two easy-to-install courts. Squash, which would include 32 men and 32 women players in the Olympics, could share a venue with badminton or another sport.

Ramachandran said squash courts could be located at iconic venues in any of the three cities bidding for the 2020 Games.

''In Istanbul, I can set it up next to the Blue Mosque,'' he said. ''In Madrid, I can put it outside the (royal) palace. I can put up in the Ginza district in Tokyo. We can showcase the city like no other sport can.''

Ramachandran dismissed the suggestion that the Olympics has enough racket sports with tennis, badminton and table tennis. He also said his sport meets the IOC's requirement for universality, being played around the world.



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LOL. Squash is not happening.

Why not? They've made the greatest effort out of all of the eligible sports, other than wrestling, to get on to the program. The squash federation has been innovating the sport tirelessly over the past year or so to try and make it more television friendly and popular.

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Climbing revamps bid for 2020 Olympic Games

March 18 - Climbing has revamped its bid to be included on the sport programme for the 2020 Olympic Games by including all three of their competition disciplines instead of just one.

The original proposal included just lead climbing, which tests the endurance of athletes as they compete to see who can get highest.

However, both speed climbing and bouldering will now also be included if climbing secures a spot at the 2020 Olympics.

Speed climbing sees athletes race up identical routes to see who gets to the top in the fastest time while bouldering is the ultimate climbing test of strength and power as it sees athletes compete vertically without ropes.

The announcement was made by The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) President Marco Scolaris at the IFSC Plenary Assembly in Shanghai.

This decision comes on the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Technical Commission following the IOC Evaluation of the 2012 Climbing World Championships in Paris where lead, speed and bouldering competitions took place alongside one another.



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IOC confirm date for crucial 2020 bid sport presentations

March 24 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have confirmed that the sports bidding for a place on the programme at the 2020 Olympic Games will all present to their Executive Board on Wednesday, May 29 in St Petersburg with a final shortlist set to be announced on the same day.

The seven bidding sports of baseball/softball, climbing, karate, roller sport, squash wakeboard and wushu are all fighting against wrestling, which was last month controversially axed from the programme after Rio 2016 by the IOC Executive Board.

All eight will present to the Executive Board on the first day of their meeting in St Petersburg, which will take place at the LENEXPO Exhibition Complex on the side-lines of the SportAccord Convention.

Each sport has been allocated a 30 minute slot in which to present their case to the Executive Board.

Following all eight presentations, the Executive Board will decide which bids will remain on the shortlist, with a public announcement on their decision scheduled to be made on the evening of May 29 in St Petersburg by the IOC director of communications Mark Adams.

It is widely predicted that only three of the eight sports will remain on the shortlist.

The sports that remain on the shortlist will then go through to the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September, where the full IOC membership will vote for just one to join the 2020 Olympic Games sports programme.



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Baseball and softball leaders say World Baseball Classic boosted Olympic bid

World baseball and softball leaders have said that their joint bid for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics has been boosted by the success of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which ended last week. The Dominican Republic won the 28-team tournament last week, when they beat Puerto Rico 3-0 in the final at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Don Porter, co-president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, said: "We believe baseball and softball can become the next global game."

Organizers said that the 2013 WBC, which was in its third edition since being launched in 2006, had exceeded global broadcast and ticket sales targets, drawing a record 781,429 fans to the games themselves; the WBSF co-president Riccardo Fraccari added that the figures "clearly indicate that our sport could help further drive the Olympic brand in key and lucrative regions".

Speaking after the WBC final, Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of business operations, said: "This has been a great success – over the top, unqualified. It's a worldwide event, and it's about growing the game." Brosnan added that the tournament would certainly be back for its fourth running in 2017. He added: "The commissioner [bud Selig] is 1,000% committed."

The first two World Baseball Classics, which were held in 2006 and 2009, were won by Japan, who beat Cuba in the first final and South Korea in the second. The USA has competed in all three tournaments – the Americans reached the second round in 2006 and 2013 and went one step further, to the semi-finals, in 2009.

Baseball and softball have been out of the Olympics since 2008 and the two sports have merged in an attempt to return for the 2020 Games. They are competing against seven other sports for a single spot on the program. Last month, the International Olympic Committee surprised the sporting world when it voted to exclude wrestling from the Games, relegating that long-time Olympic sport to the contest for 2020 inclusion alongside baseball/softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. The world's other major bat-and-ball game, cricket, has recently indicated that it would like its shortened Twenty20 format to be considered for Olympic inclusion in future.

Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo are bidding to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games; the host city will be announced in Buenos Aires on 7 September.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, same thing happened with 2016. Rio had no idea it would have to provide a golf course and a rugby venue until after they were chosen.

I wonder if there is any recourse for the host city/country to turn around and say " that wasn't part of our agreement" and object to staging additional sports? Seems reasonable to only go forward with official sports at the time of bidding.

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Baseball still lacks MLB guarantee for Olympic bid

ROME — Baseball and softball's joint bid for Olympic reinstatement is still lacking a guarantee that major league stars would be available to play ahead of a key presentation to the IOC next month.

International Baseball Federation President Riccardo Fraccari is holding out hope that Major League Baseball will commit its players for at least the semifinals and finals of the proposed Olympic tournament, but he told The Associated Press on Wednesday that "we have to be realistic."

Baseball and softball have been out of the Olympics since 2008 and merged in a bid to return for the 2020 Games. They are competing against seven other sports for a single spot on the program.

On May 29 in St. Petersburg, Russia, the International Olympic Committee board will select one or more sports to submit for final consideration to the IOC general assembly in September.

"We need the utmost support from MLB to get past May," Fraccari said. "We're still negotiating.

"If we make it past this step there are a lot more cards to play. There are a lot of IOC members from Latin America who support baseball. The executive committee is one thing, the congress is another."

The Olympic tournaments would feature eight teams divided into two groups, with the top two finishers in each group advancing to the semifinals.

Another option Fraccari has floated is suspending the MLB All-Star Game every four years and having a break later in the season for the Olympics instead. But MLB does not appear open to that proposal.

The IOC voted in 2005 to remove baseball and softball from the Olympic program after the 2008 Beijing Games. As separate bids, the two sports both failed to return for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

However, wresting was cut in February from the 2020 Games by the IOC executive board and also will seek reinstatement.

Wrestling, which dates back to the ancient Olympics and the first modern games in 1896, has made leadership and rule changes in a bid to win reinstatement.

"It's much, much more complicated now," Fraccari said.

The others sports vying for entry are squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and the martial arts of karate and wushu.

The enormous insurance contracts it would require to lend out MLB players midseason is also a stumbling block.

Fraccari estimated that $18 million was spent on insurance for the recent World Baseball Classic, and even if the Olympic figure might be half that, it's still a problem.

"Who's going to pay?" he said.

Still, the bid is not dead yet, and it received a boost from the World Baseball Classic.

The Dominican Republic won the WBC by beating Puerto Rico 3-0 in the final of the 28-team tournament in San Francisco on March 19. Japan won the first two WBC titles, which started in 2006.

WBC organizers said they exceeded global broadcast and ticket sales targets this year.

"The WBC helped a lot," Fraccari said.



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MLB won't interrupt season for Olympics


Major League Baseball won’t change its schedule to boost the sport’s chances of getting back into the Olympics.

Baseball was an Olympic medal sport from 1992-2008, then was dropped for last year’s London Games. IOC President Jacques Rogge says baseball should make its top athletes available, as they are in basketball and hockey.

“Look, we can’t stop our season in August. We just can’t,” baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday. “You can’t say to your fans: ‘We’ll see you in the next period of time. Your club loses some players but yours doesn’t.’”

The IOC board meets next month to select one or more sports for consideration by September’s IOC general assembly. In an effort to boost the chance of readmission for 2020, the international baseball and softball federations are merging.

Some have suggested major leaguers could play in the Olympics during an extended All-Star break. Selig was clear that MLB’s schedule will not be interrupted, and that weather made an earlier start or later ending impossible.

“Do I wish I could? Yes,” he said. “But is it practical? No.”

The sport launched its own international event in 2006, the World Baseball Classic. The first two tournaments were won by Japan, and the Dominican Republic took this year’s title last month.

Many top American pitchers didn’t play for their national team, including David Price, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain. Some clubs were reluctant to have their players participate.

“They just didn’t want to take a chance,” Selig said. “And frankly, if I were running a club, I wouldn’t either.”

He does hope to add another international competition.

“My ultimate goal, I hope I live long enough to see it, is a true World Series,” he said. “We have a ways to go.”

On another international matter, Selig would like to institute a worldwide amateur draft for 2014. Under baseball’s labor contract, MLB must notify the players’ association by June 1 of its intent to start an international draft for next year, and the union would have until June 15 to veto it.

“We met with the players’ association last week, had extended conversations on the topic,” said Rob Manfred, an MLB executive vice president. “It’s within the realm of the possible that we will have an agreement by June 1.”

Union head Michael Weiner responded in an email to The Associated Press: “We have begun discussion, but I wouldn’t prejudge the results.”



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