On Monday, while you were no doubt enjoying a cold brew at a barbecue and watching fireworks, the softball world had something more than brats and dogs to cheer for. Inserted quietly into a news release revealing the events to be added to the 2014 Winter Games was a short list of sports to be considered for the 2020 Olympics -- and softball was on it.
While news of softball's inclusion is huge, the sport still is one of eight vying for a single spot. The others to be considered by the International Olympic Committee are karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard, wushu and baseball. In September 2013, the IOC will meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to select one sport to add to the program at the 2020 Games.
Not only does softball need to beat out seven other sports, the people in charge at the IOC also need to be convinced of its merit after dropping it from the Olympics several years ago. In 2005, the IOC elected to remove baseball and softball from the Olympic program for the 2012 Games, and in 2009, voted to keep them from the 2016 Games as well.
Those who voted to cut softball argued that the sport lacks appeal on a global stage, and the results of the first four Olympic softball competitions support their claims. The U.S. won the gold in three of those four Olympics, outscoring its opponents 51-1 en route to gold in 2004.