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WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari Makes Announcement Concerning Olympic Baseball and Softball

8 Dec, 2020


WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari had the following statement about baseball and softball returning to the Olympics:

In just under a year, baseball and softball will mark their spectacular Olympic comebacks at the Tokyo 2020 Games. And although the Olympic Games have been delayed by one year, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about what the future holds for baseball and softball, in general and within the Olympic framework.  

Our return to the Olympic stage will take place in one of baseball-softball's spiritual homes. Like in many countries across the world where our sport is the national sport, baseball is the 'king of content' in Japan. Our sport is number one in Japan and as we saw during the 2019 WBSC Premier12, our hosts know how to put on a thrilling contest. We can expect nothing less in 12 months' time.  

In addition to the electric atmosphere that we have grown accustomed to in Japan, softball has been awarded the privilege of opening the Games, with women's softball scheduled to start on 21 July 2021, two days prior to the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony. 

Not only will we be the first of 339 Olympic events at Tokyo 2020, our first Olympic game since Beijing 2008 will take place at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium. It is a privilege for our sport to have been chosen by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 to play a supporting role in the recovery of the region and its people, and one which we assume with great pride. In total, six softball and one baseball games will be held in Fukushima and we will do everything we can to ensure that they shine the best light possible on Fukushima's transformation, as well as how the Olympic Games are now more than ever a universal symbol of hope and solidarity for humanity. 

As I stated to IOC President Bach when we opened our new global headquarters earlier this month, our ambition at the world level is to become a permanent sport on the Olympic program.    

But our decision to establish our headquarters in Pully at the heart of the Olympic Movement is also a demonstration that we are not only seeking to participate at Olympic events. The WBSC is determined to be making sustained and substantial contributions to the long-term health of the Olympic Movement.   

Baseball5's accessibility and inclusivity are examples of the positive contributions our sport can make to the Movement. Our newest discipline will be the first Olympic team sport to feature mixed-gender teams, when it makes its debut at the Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, helping to build on the IOC's commitment to promoting gender equality across all of its events. 

And for more than a century, our sport has allowed children, and particularly young girls, to play and stay in sport. The youth appeal of our sport is something the WBSC has capitalised on with our competitions starting at the U-12 level for both boys and girls. One year ago, in Taiwan, I had the privilege of opening the Tainan Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadium and Training Centres - a first-of-its-kind elite baseball facility designed specifically to host our U-12 Baseball World Cup and target youth athletes aged 12 and under.

Our focus on youth, and the successes it has brought, is bringing us closer to reaching our vision of a billion-strong global baseball-softball community. One billion men, women and children of all ages connected through their love of baseball-softball.

My personal hope and the WBSC's ambition, as we mark one-year-to-go until Tokyo 2020, is that our community's passion for sport will continue to strengthen the Olympic Games, its values and its wonderful family for many years to come, as we look to the IOC and the Olympic Games -- the most important sporting platform on earth -- for inspiration, now more than ever.

WBSC, Olympic Family celebrate 'One Year to Go' to Tokyo 2020 Games

With messages of solidarity, unity, diversity and hope, stakeholders from the sports world celebrated hitting the 365-day-to-go mark. The WBSC joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Organising Committee to celebrate the milestone.

In one year, baseball and softball will make their historic official Olympic return, where they are expected to be amongst the most popular sporting events at the Tokyo 2020 Games in Japan. 

WBSC launches 'Olympic Rewind' series to celebrate Tokyo 2020 original baseball, softball schedules 

In collaboration with the Olympic Channel, past Olympic baseball and softball games will be re-streamed in place of this year's postponed Games, including historic gold medal games. The 'Olympic Rewind' series will coincide with the original Tokyo 2020 schedule.

'Olympic Rewind' Scheduling

  • Olympic softball rewinds: 22-28 July
  • Olympic baseball rewinds: 29 July to 8 August

Headquartered in Pully, Switzerland -- adjacent to Lausanne, the Olympic Capital -- the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the world governing body for baseball and softball. WBSC has 211 National Federation and Associate Members in 138 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania, which represent a united baseball/softball sports movement that encompasses over 65 million athletes and attracts approximately 150 million fans to stadiums worldwide annually.  

The WBSC governs all international competitions involving official National Teams. The WBSC oversees the Premier12, the World Baseball Classic and Baseball World Cups (U-12, U-15, U-18, U-23 and Women's), and the Softball World Cups, (Men's, Women's, U-18 Men's, U-18 Women's and U-12 Mixed), and Baseball5 as well as Baseball, Softball and Baseball5 events at the Olympic Games.

For more information, visit www.wbsc.org, which is available in six languages: English, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

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