Guest Author - Traci Falb
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the new organization comprised of former International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF) in an effort to return the sports to the Olympic Games in 2020. With both baseball and softball uniting to form a stronger, joined effort to return the athletes to the world's biggest competition, emphasis will be placed on convincing the Olympic committees on the popularity and benefit for softball and baseball.
Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter, co-presidents of the newly formed WBSC, are enthusiastic about their sports returning to the "Olympic stage". They have not only a new logo to represent their unity but also have put together a campaign that anyone can get involved in. They want to stress the importance of softball and baseball internationally, and the fact that anyone can play regardless of factors like age, gender or religion. The website for their plan of action, "Swing For The Fences" is playball2020.com (playball).
Jennie Finch from American Olympic Softball and Yukiko Ueno from Japanese Olympic Softball are among many proud supporters of the campaign and urge public support to help girls and especially young people become involved in the sport of softball (isfsoftball). Both gold medal winners in the games, the young women are striving to save the sport from being shut out in another exciting Olympic games, which would promote the sport of softball for so many young athletes.
An announcement made on May 29, 2013, confirmed that baseball/softball has made the shortlist for the 2020 Olympic Games. This means that they will be considered for reinstatement but will be competing against the sports of wrestling and squash for only one open position. The final vote will take place in September of 2013 in Buenos Aires when only one of the three sports will be accepted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge said that he was happy with the final three sports that were picked by his Board and wishes them all good luck (aroundtherings).
Members of WBSC are excited about their merger and hope that it will give them an advantage when it comes to the final decision in September. Softball and baseball fans will no doubt show their support and contribute to the success of the sports in the coming months. With Softball and Baseball returning to the Olympic Games, athletes and fans around the world will once again have the opportunity to cheer on their favorites.