If you’ve kept up with news surrounding the Olympics in recent years, you may have heard of a pretty major change – softball is no longer a contending sport. For softball players and fans like myself, this is a pretty depressing turn for the world’s largest sports competition. So, why exactly did they decide to remove softball from the Olympics?
Softball in The Olympics
In the early days of the Olympics, there was no softball. It wasn’t until the 1940′s when Japanese and U.S. players rallied to get approval from the committee to add softball to their list of sports. Up until the 90′s, efforts continued for the inclusion of softball until it was finally recognized and approved as a women’s-only sport in the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Softball remained as an active sport up until 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2005, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to remove both baseball and softball from the program. There as a stand-still on the voting with 52 people for keeping softball in the Olympics and 52 for its removal. In 2009, the IOC released a statement saying that softball would not be included in the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics.
Reasons For Removing Softball From The Olympics
No one knows for sure why softball, or baseball for that matter, was kicked out of the Olympics. However, Olympic sports officials have stated that both softball and baseball are too “American” for the world sporting competition. If you had the chance to watch any of the past Olympic softball games, you’ll see just how much the U.S. dominated every other team. Should we remove a sport and prevent players from playing just because they’re more skilled than other teams are? Personally, I don’t think so, but unfortunately I’m not on the IOC so my opinion doesn’t really count.
Other people believe softball and baseball were removed simply because there wasn’t enough room for or resources for them. Golf and rugby are two sports which were recently added and this could have contributed to the removal of softball and baseball.
Will Softball Be Added Back To The Olympics?
There are efforts underway by the International Softball Federation to include softball back into the list of Olympic sports. They are currently preparing a proposal for the IOC which states why softball should be added to the Olympics. Will it work? We don’t know yet, but we can all cross our fingers and hope to see it back on the ballet.