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Tokyo 2020 proposes adding baseball, softball, 4 more sports to Olympics

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Tokyo 2020 proposed adding baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing to its Olympic program on Monday.

The International Olympic Committee will make a final decision in August as to which sports will be added for the 2020 Games, if any. The decision is for the sports’ inclusion in the 2020 Olympics only and not for Olympics beyond that.

“This package of events represents both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally,” Tokyo 2020 said in a press release. “They will serve as a driving force to further promote the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal, and will add value to the Games by engaging the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide, reflecting the Tokyo 2020 Games vision.”

The five proposed sports (baseball-softball counts as one) make up a total of 18 events (when separating for genders and, for karate, weight classes) and 474 additional athletes.

Tokyo 2020 proposed having six teams each in baseball and softball, which would be two fewer than when the sports were previously in the Olympics in the 1990s and 2000s.

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Those five sports were previously named finalists to be considered to be added for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on June 21. Other finalists not ultimately chosen by organizers were bowling, squash and wushu.

Olympic host cities can propose adding sports for their Games under Agenda 2020 reforms passed by the International Olympic Committee in December.

Agenda 2020 set to limit the Summer Olympics to approximately 10,500 athletes and 310 events (unless otherwise agreed upon with that year’s Olympic Organizing Committee, see Olympic Charter Rule 45, provision 3.2). London 2012 had 10,568 athletes in 302 events; Rio 2016 will have 306 events.

Baseball and softball, part of the Olympics from 1992 (baseball)/1996 (softball) through 2008, have long been thought to be the favorite to be added for Tokyo 2020, if any sports are added.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) said it’s “the biggest sport not currently featured at the Olympic Games.”

“We’ve reached second base,” World Baseball Softball Confederation president Riccardo Fraccari said, according to The Associated Press. “Now we’ve got to wait until Rio [2016 Olympics in August] to get home.”

“The vast majority of baseball/softball’s estimated 65 million athletes in over 140 countries are between the ages of 5 to 21,” WBSC said in a press release after the announcement.

“Today’s announcement by Tokyo 2020 to include baseball/softball into its proposal for additional events at the 2020 Olympic Games is an exciting step forward to hopefully seeing our game return to this great platform,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in the press release. “We look forward to the IOC’s decision in August 2016.”

Manfred has continued the stance of predecessor Bud Selig that MLB will not interrupt its schedule to allow big-league players to compete in the Olympics, if the sport is re-added.

“We’re in discussions and we have a great relationship with MLB,” Fraccari said, according to the AP. “We have plenty of time to discuss before 2020. The important thing now is this choice and that the IOC confirms it. The rest can wait.”

Karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing have never been part of the Olympic program.

In 2014, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk said he’d been involved in discussions and was confident that his sport would be added to the Olympics.

“If you look at the success of snowboarding in the Winter Games and how that’s brought a more youthful edge to the Olympics in general, they don’t have that with the Summer Games,” Hawk told Larry King last year. “They don’t have anything that’s drawing in a younger viewership.”

Squash, along with baseball-softball, lost out on being added for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics when the IOC voted to keep wrestling in the Olympic program on Sept. 8, 2013.

“I don’t believe we could have done more to get our message across to both the Tokyo 2020 Games hosts and the IOC,” World Squash Federation president Narayana Ramachandran said in a statement. “I know I speak on behalf of the millions of squash players around the world for whom the opportunity of seeing their sport participate in the Olympics has been an absolute priority — and, like me, they will be heartbroken.

“However, this is not the end for squash. … We will go from strength to strength while we continue to target participation at a future date in the Games.”

The following sports applied for inclusion in Tokyo 2020 but failed to make the finalist list:

Air sports, bowls, bridge, chess, dance sport, floorball, flying disc, football, korfball, netball, orienteering, polo, racquetball, sumo, tug of war, underwater sports and waterski and wakeboard.

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Peter Sagan wins World Championships road race for first time

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Peter Sagan added a World Championship in the road race to his résumé of four Tour de France points classification titles, becoming the first Slovakian to claim elite individual gold at a Road Cycling Worlds on Sunday.

“It’s the biggest victory,” Sagan said.

Sagan, 25, made a move in the final two miles after more than 150 miles of racing on the Richmond, Va., course, and won by three seconds over a large group.

“Race was very strange,” Sagan told the crowd in an interview. “Today I was just waiting, waiting. I did just one attack, and it was, I think, the right attack.”

Australian Michael Matthews was second, followed by Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas in third.

Alex Howes was in that pack in 12th, finishing as the top American. Full results are here.

Sagan has entered four Tours de France and won the green jersey in all of them as the top sprinter, amassing four individual stage wins along the way. He also owns four Vuelta a Espana stage wins.

He was 34th in his Olympic debut at the London 2012 road race. Sagan, whose World title means he will wear a rainbow jersey, said he proved wrong those who doubted his ability to win outside of a sprint.

“I saw also a lot of comments, like the people, I am not good for the long race and this, but, yeah, now I have this jersey, and I hold it for all next year,” Sagan said.

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Eliud Kipchoge misses marathon world record by 63 seconds with shoe malfunction

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BERLIN (AP) — Wayward insoles cost Eliud Kipchoge a chance to break a world record.

Despite problems with his shoes from the first kilometer, Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon on Sunday in a personal best time of 2 hours, 4 minutes.

The Kenyan’s insoles were noticeably slipping out of his runners around the 20K mark, flapping behind him as he maintained a leading pace with training partner Emmanuel Mutai and 2012 race winner Geoffrey Mutai.

Geoffrey Mutai, no relation to Emmanuel, fell behind around the 30K mark and Kipchoge made his move two kilometers further on.

“I didn’t have time to pull the soles out,” said Kipchoge, who had been targeting compatriot Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 from Berlin last year. “The world record was my target. I didn’t manage it but I’ll be back next year.”

Running his sixth Berlin marathon, Kipchoge finished comfortably ahead of compatriot Eliud Kiptanui in second on 2:05:22 and Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia third in 2:06:57. All times were official.

“From the first kilometer I had problems with my shoes,” Kipchoge said. “Nevertheless, I am very happy about my victory. I love the Berlin course and the people. I’m glad I won and in a personal best. I would very much love to come back and run an even faster time.”

Emmanuel Mutai was fourth and Geoffrey Mutai fifth, ahead of Canada’s Reid Coolseat, who ran 2:10:28.

Kipchoge shaved five seconds off his previous personal best time and 42 seconds off the previous fastest mark of the year that he set at the London Marathon on April 26.

Despite acknowledging that he “could have run faster,” Kipchoge laid no fault with his sponsor for his footwear issues.

“I tested the shoe, I tested many pairs of Nike. I think this shoe is the best shoe ever. The shoe is good,” the 30-year-old said. “The sole was not glued. I used the same pair in Kenya and it was good.”

Kiptanui was happy with his second-place finish.

“I think I had no chance to beat Eliud,” said Kiptanui, who knocked 17 seconds off his personal best set in Prague in 2010.

Kipchoge clocked 2:04:05 in 2013 only to be beaten by compatriot Wilson Kipsang, who set a then-record of 2:03:23.

Gladys Cherono of Kenya beat the 2:20 mark to win the women’s race in 2:19.25 ahead of Ethiopian trio Aberu Kebede, Meseret Hailu and Tadelech Bekele.

It was Cherono’s first win in only her second marathon. The 32-year-old half marathon world champion ran 2:20:03 for second place in her debut in Dubai last January.

Conditions were ideal on a cool, crisp autumn morning in Berlin. More than 41,000 runners from 131 countries were registered to run.

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