Baseball and softball officially join forces

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The international baseball and softball federations ratified a joint constitution Sunday to officially form the World Baseball Softball Confederation. Both sports hope it will improve their chances of getting back into the Olympic Games in 2020.

“Our vision is to give every boy and girl in the world a chance to play baseball and softball and to inspire them to take up the sport through the Olympic Games,” said co-President Don Porter.

The IOC executive board will choose at least one, but probably a couple, of the eight candidate sports during a vote in St. Petersburg next month. Then the full IOC membership will pick which sport gets the lone spot on the Olympic schedule at yet another meeting in Buenos Aires this September.

Baseball and softball were ousted from the Games after Beijing, but the sports have been working hard to grow the game internationally, and to make it appealing to the IOC with rules changes, including shortening games. The Confederation will face wrestling, squash, karate, wushu, sport climbing, roller sports, and wake boarding in the vote(s).

It’s over: a low-key Games on a far more human scale

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The 2018 Winter Olympics shivered Sunday to a close, surely defined by cold and wind but destined — just as in Seoul 30 years before — to mark a key chapter in history on the Korean peninsula.

NBCOlympics.com: Sights and Sounds from the 2918 Olympics Closing Ceremony

These Games are likely to be recalled as an inflection point in Olympic history, too. After logistical dramas and more at Rio 2016 and Sochi 2014, the Olympic scene needed a Games at which the venues were built, the buses ran on time, security was subtle, the volunteers were super-friendly — organizationally, everything more or less just worked — and the spotlight shone on the athletes and their stories of inspiration.

That’s what PyeongChang delivered.

A low-key Games on a far more human scale.

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More of best GIFs from PyeongChang Olympics

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The 2018 Winter Games are over, but that doesn’t mean we’ll forget all the amazing heights reached by American athletes. Take a look back at a few of them here with an added twist, powered by Giphy: