Baseball, softball, golf among sports to seek spot in 2016 Games

Updated: November 13, 2008, 12:37 PM ET
Associated Press

GENEVA -- Leaders of baseball and softball, along with five other sports seeking inclusion in the 2016 Summer Games, will present their cases Friday to the International Olympic Committee.

Golf, karate, roller sports, seven-side rugby and squash officials also will meet the 16-member program commission, which will deliver an influential report to the IOC's top decision-making body before the vote by IOC members in October.

The IOC will field 28 sports at the 2016 Olympics, allowing two sports to be added.

Each sport has a one-hour slot, with baseball making the first pitch in the closed-door presentations in Lausanne, Switzerland. Baseball and softball were dropped after the Beijing Games because they did not receive enough votes in 2005 to remain on the 2012 program.

To win reinstatement, baseball must show the IOC it can deliver major league players to the Olympics, which is held during the second half of the regular season. Detroit Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson will speak as part of the IBAF's maximum six-person delegation.

"We want to do our best to tell the story of baseball," International Baseball Federation president Harvey Schiller told The Associated Press on Thursday. "We wanted to bring a player that is a star now and also a star of the future. Curtis is young enough to be able to participate eight years from now."

Softball made its debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games and the Americans swept three consecutive Olympic gold medals before losing to Japan in the final in Beijing.

The International Softball Federation has distanced itself from baseball in an attempt to win back its place in the Olympics. Baseball and softball lost inclusion by a single vote in Singapore three years ago.

ISF president Don Porter will be joined by Olympic players Saskia Kosterink of the Netherlands and Rubilena Rojas of Venezuela.

The key sessions Friday come before the vote by 100 IOC members next year in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The case for golf, last played at the Olympics in 1904, will be presented by the International Golf Federation. It's led by PGA executive Ty Votaw and Peter Dawson of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland.

The World Karate Federation, with 180 national federations, hopes the global appeal will be attractive to the IOC. It proposes awarding 10 gold medals in five classes for men's and women's competitions.

The International Federation for Roller Sports proposes road races on city streets, but no rink hockey or skateboarding.

Rugby fell from the Olympic program in 1924 and wants to return with the seven-side, shorter version of the game for men and women, rather than the more established 15-side competition.

The World Squash Federation will emphasize its television-friendly, glass-enclosed courts. Its delegation includes IOC member Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia and former world champions Jahangir Khan of Pakistan and Sarah Fitzgerald of Australia.

Franco Carraro of Italy is the chair of the program commission. He's one of eight IOC members who will question the delegations before presenting a report to the executive board.

The board meets in June to make recommendations to the full IOC membership. A simple majority is needed for a sport to be voted onto the program.

The IOC also will select the 2016 host city during the Copenhagen session. Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro are the candidates.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press