Softball makes own pitch for inclusion

WASHINGTON -- Softball chose to go its own way for the Olympics, rejecting a proposal from baseball for a joint bid to get reinstated for the 2016 Summer Games.

The president of the International Softball Federation, Don Porter, made the announcement Friday.

"We have offered the IOC a doping-free, universal team sport that reflects the values of Olympism all over the world," Porter said in a statement.

Porter met Thursday with Harvey Schiller, president of the International Baseball Federation in Orlando, Fla. Schiller said he would move forward with baseball's bid to get back to the Olympics.

The IOC voted to drop baseball and softball in 2005, and softball officials have said their sport was hurt by baseball's doping scandals. Since softball was added to the Olympics in 1996, the U.S. won three straight golds before losing to Japan in Beijing.

The two sports are among seven competing for two openings for new sports at the 2016 Olympics. Baseball officials had argued that a combined bid would enhance the chances of both sports. The IOC will vote in October on which sports to add.

Porter said although softball's bid is for a women's sport, his group has offered the IOC an option of adding men's softball. In a telephone interview, Porter said he thought combining with baseball would hurt that effort.

"We're an independent sport, and we want to continue that way," Porter said. "This is no disrespect in any way to baseball. Baseball's a great sport."

Schiller said he was disappointed on behalf of baseball and softball players around the world.