Baseball and softball have joined forces in hopes of being reinstated for the 2020 Olympics, but are banking on a deal with the MLB that would commit its players to part of the Olympic tournament.
“We need the utmost support from MLB to get past May,” Baseball Federation President Riccardo Fraccari told the AP. “We’re still negotiating.”
The sports were ousted from the Olympic schedule after the Beijing Games, and will go up against seven other prospective sports – including wrestling and squash – in a IOC executive committee vote May 29 in St. Petersburg. That vote will determine which of the eight will then be voted on by the entire IOC membership this September to fill the one open slot at the 2020 Games.
The Baseball federation has a key presentation just ahead of the May meeting, and would love to be able to offer the IOC some professional talent in the semis and finals. Of course, that would require the MLB to either suspend play for a short period, or allow its top stars to leave and join up with their national squads.
“If we make it past this step there are a lot more cards to play,” he added. “There are a lot of IOC members from Latin America who support baseball. The executive committee is one thing, the congress is another.”
Another option is to schedule the All-Star game around the Olympics, but that’s difficult because the annual event typically takes place in mid-July, and recent Olympics have come closer to August.
Fraccari also has no idea how to pay for the estimated $9 million in insurance to cover the pro players competing in the Games, but believes the growth and popularity of the WBC has helped the sports’ chances of reclaiming a spot on the Olympics schedule.
Lindsey Vonn partied with fellow Under Armour sports stars Tom Brady and Jordan Spieth as well as rapper Vanilla Ice on Wednesday.
The company held its 20th anniversary party in Baltimore, where it’s based.
Vonn is living it up in her offseason following another knee injury but is expected to be ready for the start of the 2016-17 season this fall.
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Australian golfer Marc Leishman will miss the Rio Olympics due to his wife’s health.
“Many of you may know that last April my children and I almost lost my wife, Audrey, to toxic shock syndrome,” Leishman said in a statement. “Since then Audrey has been prone to infection and is far removed from 100 percent recovery of her immune system.
“We have consulted with Audrey’s physician and due to her ongoing recovery from toxic shock and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus, it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate.
“I missed playing in the 2015 Masters tournament to be at her side when she was originally stricken and I cannot risk placing her health in jeopardy.
“The Masters and the Olympics are the two biggest tournaments to which a golfer can be invited; however, my family will always come before golf.”
Leishman, 32 with one PGA Tour win, joined the projected Olympic field when countryman Adam Scott said last month that he would skip Rio.
World No. 1 Jason Day is assured one of two Olympic spots for Australian men when the 60-man field is determined based on July 11 world rankings.
With No. 7 Scott and No. 35 Leishman out, the next-best Aussie is No. 63 Marcus Fraser.
Three more major champions — Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel — also said in April they would not compete in Rio.
Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
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