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Softball Canada – (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted in favour of adding softball and baseball among a package of five sports to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games. Softball was played in four Olympic Games from 1996 to 2008, but had been left off the sports programme in 2012 and 2016. The other sports that will be added as part of the package include karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.
“We are delighted with today’s news of the return of Women’s softball to the Olympic Games” stated Softball Canada President Kevin Quinn. “This is a fantastic opportunity for the many Canadian players who will be striving to be in Tokyo in 2020. We look forward to working with the Canadian Olympic Committee and our other partners to make that a reality for our team.”
The IOC Executive Board unanimously supported the inclusion of the five sports in June, with the final vote on the composition of the sports programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games taking place today at the IOC Session on the eve of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 
“There is no greater honour or achievement than to represent your country and there is no better feeling to do it on the biggest stage” said Kaleigh Rafter, a 2008 Softball Olympian and current Women’s National Team athlete. “The 2008 Olympics holds some of my most cherished sporting memories. You want to talk about growing the game? The opportunity to walk through that tunnel, to put on the uniform with the Olympic Rings patch, to compete alongside the best athletes in the world, there is no greater motivation or dream for young players in the game of softball.  I am overjoyed another generation of softball athletes will have that dream and reality.”
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) was formed in 2013, uniting the baseball and softball international federations in their quest to seek Olympic reinstatement. According to WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari, baseball and softball’s global reach, loyal fan-base and positioning across many of the biggest sports markets, including Japan, offers a unique opportunity to further spread and elevate the Olympic brand while connecting with new audiences and more young people.
“It was my dream growing up to play softball in the Olympics and to try my hardest to be an Olympian” added Sara Groenewegen, a Women’s National Team pitcher since 2013. “Unfortunately that dream was put aside when softball was left off the programme after the 2008 Games. Since then, players around the world have tried their best to get it back into the Olympic Games so it can become a dream for little girls again. When softball returns, I believe it will grow excitement for our game and increase the popularity and support of our sport. As a softball community, we are all ecstatic about this announcement and we can’t wait to see what the future will bring.”
Canada is one of five countries to compete in all four Olympic softball competitions between 1996 and 2008, and is coming off a Bronze medal performance at the 2016 WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship in Surrey, BC last month as well as a Gold medal result at the 2015 Pan American Games.


For more information, please contact:

Gilles LeBlanc
Manager – Marketing and Communications
Softball Canada
(613) 523-3386 ext. 3105