Via unanimous, albeit mail-in, vote, the International Baseball Federation officially approved a merger with softball’s governing body Thursday so the two could join forces in a joint bid that will aim at getting the sports back in the Olympics by the 2020 Games.
“This is another critical step in the long-term prosperity and development of softball and baseball worldwide,” IBAF President Riccardo Fraccari told the Associated Press in Switzerland. “We look forward to presenting an exceptional value proposal to the Olympic movement for 2020 and beyond.”
Softball approved the union back in October.
Both sports were excommunicated from the Games during an IOC vote in 2005 and were last played in Beijing. They then both lost out to golf and rugby sevens when they were up for reinstatement for the Rio Olympics back in 2009.
The federations believe they can operate better as a team, and be the one sport chosen by the IOC when its members vote next September in Argentina. The pair will be up against Karate, roller sports, wushu, sport climbing, wakeboard, and squash, which seems to making the biggest push of all.
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.