USA Loss May Have Helped Softball Bid For Return To Olympics Written By Bill Plummer
Although the USA lost to Japan in the gold medal game of the 14th ISF World Championship, August 25th, it may have helped softball's chances of getting back into the Olympics. Toyko will host the 2020 Olympics with softball and baseball favorites of the Japanese fans.
The USA lost twice to Japan, 4-1 in the gold medal game and 6-1 in the round robin. In the two games, the USA tallied 13 hits but couldn't put anything together, and especially in the gold medal team when each team had eight hits. It was Japan's second World title after winning in 2012, while the USA last won this event in 2010 after dominating earlier World championships. winning nine all told.
This was the first time this event was held in Europe (Netherlands) and had a field of 16 teams representing five world regions. The USA had defeated Australia in the game for third place to advance to the Page Playoff finale.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation is hoping to get both sports back on the Olympic program and Japan winning certainly helped softball's efforts.
“We are developing the sports of softball and baseball in many areas such as the Muslim world, in Africa, and in Europe where interest, awareness, and club numbers and players are continuing to grow on this historic, sports loving continent, the cradle of modern sport,”said World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President, Riccardo Fraccari.
Japan, the 2008 Olympic softball champions, finished softball’s pinnacle global event with a perfect tournament record of 10-0, fueling further national speculation, interest and excitement in Japan about the possible inclusion of softball and baseball, the two most popular sports in the 2020 Olympic host nation, at the Tokyo Games.
With the Olympic sports selection process up for discussion at the IOC Session in Monaco in December, leadership of the WBSC, the recently merged international baseball and softball confederation, remains committed to working with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organisers to earn the honour of having the sports included at the Olympic Games.
“Japan, like many other countries around the world, is a baseball and softball nation, and we are doing all we can to maximize the added-value that our bat-and-ball sports would deliver to the Olympic Games,” President Fraccari said.
“We believe that the deep national history, pride and passion for baseball and softball in Japan, at all levels of Japanese society, would enable these sports to bring great value and enhance the Olympic experience at the Tokyo Games and for the 2020 Olympic host nation of Japan.”
“The ten-day spectacle of women’s sport highlighted softball’s growing global popularity as one of the world’s premier sports for women,” said Dale McMann, WBSC Executive Vice President.
“This was a premium event, with teams from three different continents in the top three,” said Low Beng Choo, WBSC Secretary General.
“The medal distribution from the Americas to Asia and Oceania highlights the global spread and excellence of the sport and the athletes, and increases opportunities and awareness of women’s sport,” Low said.
Bill Plummer A 1973 graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than five decades. For 30 years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office in Oklahoma City as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian.
In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2008, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2013 he co-authored “A Series Of Their Own”. Visit his website at PlummerSoftball.com.
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