In August 2016, softball players and fans alike received the fantastic news that the sport would be included in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan (this date was pushed forward to 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.) Yet despite this seemingly good news, this was not the deserved Olympic reinstatement that the players and fans had hoped.
The Paris Olympic games committee vetoed the baseball/softball event for the 2024-Olympic Games and chose the illustrious sports of skateboarding, sports climbing, surfing, and (this is not a prank,) the sport of breakdancing.
However, with Los Angeles as hosts to the 2028 Summer Olympics, the chances are excellent that they include softball along with baseball.
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Why was softball dropped in 2016?
Softball has had a long struggle to be accepted as an Olympic sport. After decades of battle, the women-only sport was officially placed on the Olympic program at the Olympic games in Atlanta, 1996. Sadly for the US, on a 22 winning game streak from 2000 to 2008, this was soon to end.
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided by secret ballot, that they would not be including softball in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The IOC treats softball and baseball as a single sport at an Olympic level and collectively are the most followed games in the world without consistent Olympic status. Despite the enormous fan base that baseball and softball enjoy, the IOC claimed that the sport was too localized to America for international appeal.
However, many people suspected that the IOC dropped the two sports because the top Major League Baseball (MBL) baseball players were kept from the Olympics due to MLB and Olympic schedule clashes. There was also speculation that the MLB was keeping their top players from the Olympics due to the event’s strict anti-doping procedures.
Why is softball not included in Paris 2024 Olympic Games?
Tony Estanguet, who heads the Paris committee, announced that only climbing, skateboarding surfing, and breakdancing would be included in the Olympic Games 2024. The committee later announced a possible addition of karate, but baseball and softball would not be recommended in the line-up.
Many people feel that the obvious reason that softball was left out of the 2024 line up is that baseball and softball do not appeal to the French. These sports are not actively followed in France, and no French National team has ever been represented in the sports at an Olympic level when softball and baseball were included.
Paris also lacks the infrastructure to provide softball venues. With an emphasis on sustainability and economy, the Paris committee has made no secret of been unwilling to build features for one-time events.
With the French emphasis on budget and a limit of 10,500 athletes for the event, it’s obvious that they would avoid larger team structures found in softball and baseball.
The IOC has driven home that their agenda to promote sports that will engage the youth more actively in appeal. Thus skateboarding and breakdancing reflect the interests of the younger international demographic.
The IOC needs to give its final approval for the Paris 2024 organizers in December 2020. But it seems that softball might have to take the bench on this 2024.
What does non-inclusion mean to the softball sport?
As in most spheres in life, there is a stark division between the support of female athletes and male athletes in sports in general. There are exponentially more opportunities for male baseball players in America than there are for female softball players.
As an example, an average National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) softball player earns an average of $5,000 to $6,000 per year compared to the average MLB salary of $4 million. So when softball is vetoed from participating in the Olympics, the consequences are far more far-reaching.
Women’s sport, like softball, benefits the most from the Olympic events where they can show their talents to the world at large. While baseball fills stadiums the size of small cities over and over again, softball supporters are way too few. Olympic events create excitement and garner more significant local support as well as international interest.
Along with the attention, the Olympics create opportunities for endorsements and sponsorship and merchandise revenue. Judging by the average salaries, these star softball players deserve a break.
Who is on the Olympic team in 2021?
- Monica Abbot, Salinas, California Tennessee – 2007
- Ali Aguilar, Orangevale, California Washington – 2017
- Valerie Arioto, Pleasanton, California California – 2012
- Ally Carda, Elk Grove, California. UCLA – 2015
- Amanda Chidester, Allen Park, Michigan. Michigan- -2012
- Rachel Garcia, Palmdale, California. UCLA – 2020
- Haylie McCleney, Morris, Alabama. Alabama – 2016
- Michelle Moultrie, Jacksonville, Florida. Florida – 2012
- Dejah Mulipola, Garden Grove, California. Arizona – 2020
- Aubree Munro, Brea, California. Florida – 2016
- Bubba Nickles, Merced, California. UCLA – 2020
- Cat Osterman, Houston, Texas. Texas – 2006
- Janie Reed, Placentia, California. Oregon – 2015
- Delaney Spaulding, Rancho Cucamonga, California. UCLA – 2017
- Kelsey Stewart, Wichita, Kansas. Florida – 2016
- Taylor Edwards, Murietta, Calif.
- Hannah Flippen, San Diego, Calif.
- Keilani Ricketts, San Jose, Calif.
Who is the USA softball team playing in 2021?
Team USA will be playing Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Italy. As the host country, Japan gets an automatic draw and America paved their way with a win in the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC.)
Italy claimed their place in the 2020 Olympics by winning the WBSC Europe/Asia qualifier, and Canada and Mexico got their spot as the top two teams in the WBSC Softball Americas qualifier. Australia made the grade by winning the WBSC Asia/Oceania Qualifier.
How does Team USA look for gold?
For the first time back under the Olympic Games’ flame, the USA looks hungry for gold. It has been 12 long years since their defeat at the hands of Japan, their longtime nemesis. This silver was the first loss in the team’s history of gold since its inclusion into the Olympic Games.
After a 22 game winning streak, 2008 was crushing for the American team to take home a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics. 37-year-Old Cat Osterman and Monica Abbot are once again facing off their rivals on their home turf. With a new generation of talent behind them, it looks like 2021 has a great deal in store for us.
Most of the players that are playing in the Olympics 2021 defeated Japan 7-6 in the WBSC in 2018. There is even more reason to expect the US team to shine in 2021 since the 2024 Olympics looks more and more like a bad pitch.
Are there Coronavirus changes to the Olympics line-up?
A USA spokesman confirmed that the 2020 Olympic roster decided in October 2019 would stand for the 2021 line up. This decision is excellent news for the two team members Monica Abbot and Cat Osterman, who played last in the 2008 Olympics. They will still have their chance at redemption in the dragon’s den.
The wait maybe a bit longer, but the victory will be even sweeter when the USA team takes home the gold once again. Hopefully, softball will rise in popularity and gain the importance it deserves in the sporting world. They certainly have earned it.
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