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Softball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

President Fraccari: Exciting future for baseball and softball after amazing Olympic Games tournaments

President Fraccari: Exciting future for baseball and softball after amazing Olympic Games tournaments
08/08/2021
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari looks back at baseball and softball´s successful return to the Olympic Games and the bright future ahead.

With the curtain now drawn on baseball and softball’s return to the Olympic Games, I would like to reflect on the emotion of not only the last 19 days, but also the past eight years, since the International Softball Federation and the International Baseball Federation merged together to form the World Baseball Softball Confederation in 2013 with the aim of seeing baseball and softball return to the greatest multi-sport extravaganza in the world.

I am so proud of this moment, having celebrated not only the six medal-winning teams but all the teams who participated in Tokyo 2020 and the qualification process along the way. All the tournaments were full of great contests, plenty of drama and competitive matches, along with the incredible media coverage to match.

And it’s not only the on-field performances we must applaud. I must pay my deepest respects to our Japanese friends for their commitment to delivering these Games under the most difficult conditions. They have successfully safeguarded the Olympic Flame through one of its most difficult periods, and for this, we are eternally grateful.

As I watched the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games come to a close this evening, I felt an enormous sense of pride for all that we had achieved during our stay in Japan. Our Olympic comeback, despite the circumstances, was as spectacular as we could have hoped for.

My team and I can go back home knowing that our sport, our athletes and our movement, made invaluable contributions to the overall success of these unique Olympic Games. From opening the Games’ competitions at the Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima on 21 July with women’s softball, to Eddy Alverez becoming only the sixth Olympian to win medals at both a Winter and Summer Olympic Games, it’s safe to say that baseball and softball have left their mark on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

I think you’ve seen that the ultra-competitive games, the excellent fan engagement and feedback from the athletes have proven once again how baseball and softball are a great fit for the Olympics. Not to mention the innovations, which the WBSC has introduced such as the pitching clock, two runners on for tiebreakers and TV cameras in the bases. This all in the aid to improve the audience experience.

The provisional television viewing figures and social media and website numbers, as well as the global media coverage, indicate that these innovations and the games of baseball and softball have been a huge success.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games also showcased the growing strength of international baseball and softball as well as providing a great opportunity to welcome new fans to our beautiful game and inspire a new generation of stars who we look forward to seeing going for gold at the Olympics again soon.

Last night, emotions were running high at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium as Japan secured the first baseball Olympic gold medal in its history. Another thrilling final against the USA, having also claimed gold against them in softball earlier on in the Games.

However, it wasn’t just the finalists who put on a brilliant show. All of the teams who competed at these Games were of the highest calibre and we were blessed with some the best and most competitive international baseball and softball in living memory. There’s just nothing quite like representing your country on the greatest stage of all. The Olympic experience is unique and one which we will continue to fight hard for on behalf of our fans, our teams and their athletes. 

Despite not being on the programme for Paris 2024, there are many reasons to be optimistic about our future within the Olympic Movement. Our newest discipline, Baseball5, will be making its debut at Youth Olympic Games in Dakar in 2026. And with the Olympic Games soon returning to the birthplace of our sport at LA 2028, we are confident that baseball and softball will be returning to the Summer Olympic Games soon.