February 9, 2006

Baseball and softball fail to make London 2012

By Ossian Shine

TURIN (Reuters) - Baseball and softball's bids to get on
the program of the London 2012 Olympics failed on Thursday.

International Olympic Committee members voted against even
holding a ballot to decide their re-admission to the Olympic

The two sports were thrown off the program after a vote at
the Singapore Session last year, becoming the first to be cut
from the Games since polo in 1936.

The refusal to reconsider the sports means London will
stage a reduced Games of 26 sports in 2012. Athens 2004 staged
the maximum 28.

The last Olympics to be held with 26 sports was Atlanta in
1996. The minimum number required for a Games is 15.

Thursday's vote had been the last chance for the sports to
make it back in time for 2012. They will, however, be eligible
to reapply later for readmission at the 2016 Games.

"We will work closely with the two federations," IOC
president Jacques Rogge said.

"We will work with them at the Olympic Games at Beijing and
see if there's a chance to come back in the program (for 2016).
I understand the disappointment of those who pleaded for the

"But we will discuss with the sports the situation we have
with them now and how it can be improved."

Former IOC vice-president Anita DeFrantz had appealed to
her fellow members to re-admit softball, saying it had only
been kicked out because members incorrectly associated it with

"It is a women's sport. It is a separate sport and should
be considered separately from the merits of baseball," she said
at the IOC Session on Thursday.

"This sport provides an opportunity for women and deserves
to be on our program."