Getty Images

Ichiro: No plan for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Leave a comment

Ichiro said he does not plan to play for Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to The Athletic.

The 44-year-old noted that MLB players have historically not been in the Olympics and that he plans to still be playing for an MLB team in 2020, according to the report.

Ichiro’s comments agree with what he reportedly said in 2000, the last time he could have played in the Olympics, one year before debuting with the Seattle Mariners.

“As I said before, I’m not interested in the Olympics, and I don’t know what all the commotion is about,” he said in January 2000 at a temple in Kobe where his Japanese team went to pray for victory in the upcoming season, according to Kyodo News.

Baseball was an Olympic medal sport from 1992 through 2008 with no MLB participation. It was out of the Olympic program for 2012 and 2016 but is back in for 2020 only with the potential for future Games.

While it’s not official yet, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said last year that he “can’t imagine a situation” where MLB would take a break in its season to have its best players at the Olympics.

Japan made the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments but never took gold.

Ichiro did help Japan to World Baseball Classic titles in 2006 and 2009 before choosing not to play in 2013 (when Japan had zero MLB players on its WBC roster) and again not being on Japan’s team in 2017 (when Japan had one MLB player).

In 2020, Ichiro will be more than two years older than the oldest previous Olympic baseball player — South African Alan Phillips in 2000.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: The Olympic All-Star baseball team

Paris 2024 faces Olympic decision on baseball, softball

Olympic baseball
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Baseball and softball are back in the Olympics in 2020, but not beyond that, though Paris 2024 organizers can propose to add the sports for their Games.

Will they?

“I can’t tell you now, and it’s a good question,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said Wednesday. “We will meet and work with the different federations interested in [joining the 2024 Olympic program].”

That likely means many meetings.

Tokyo 2020, the first Olympic host allowed to propose adding sports for its edition of the Games, said 26 international federations responded to its invitation to be considered for inclusion.

Tokyo 2020 trimmed it to eight finalists, then proposed five sports (karate, sport climbing, skateboarding, surfing and baseball/softball as one sport) to the IOC in September 2015. The IOC approved all of them 11 months later.

Baseball and softball return to the Olympics in 2020 for the first time since 2008. But the IOC has not added the sports back into the Olympic program full-time.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation repeated its desire to stay on the Olympic program for 2024 on the same day that the IOC announced Paris would get the 2024 Games and LA the 2028 Games on Sept. 13.

Los Angeles bid officials, who put Dodger Stadium on a 2015 list of potential Olympic venues (but none since), have not announced whether they would propose baseball and softball for 2028.

The Olympic Charter says the Olympic program must be finalized three years before the Games.

“We have now a lot of offers, and many sports want to be a part of the Games,” Estanguet said Wednesday. “I can’t tell you, honestly, because we haven’t decided yet. We have more than two years to propose something to the IOC. We have time.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: MLB commissioner ‘can’t imagine’ best baseball players in Olympics

Aly Raisman’s advice from David Ortiz after pre-Olympic injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s Christmas Eve 2015, and Aly Raisman is — where else — at Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz‘s house.

She’s also sporting a black walking boot.

Raisman said in her book, “Fierce,” published Tuesday, that she partially tore left ankle ligaments warming up on floor exercise at a December 2015 national team camp.

Raisman thought about quitting gymnastics during that camp, not only for that injury but also because she was brought to tears — two days before getting hurt — believing that she wouldn’t make the Olympic team named in seven months.

Raisman was told by a doctor to keep pressure off the ankle for four weeks.

Later that month, she arrived at Ortiz’s house for a Christmas Eve small group gathering. Raisman and Ortiz had been friends since she threw a ceremonial first pitch at an August 2012 Red Sox game.

Ortiz asked how she was doing wearing that boot.

“I just don’t feel confident anymore,” she said. “There are all these younger girls coming up, and they’re all better than me.”

Ortiz, then a 40-year-old going into his final MLB season, nodded and offered advice.

“You have to use the moment and not let it use you,” he said.

Seven months later, Raisman made her second Olympic team. A month after that, she won another Olympic gold and two silvers, giving her six career Olympic medals.

Raisman plans to return for a Tokyo 2020 run.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: How Raisman addressed Larry Nassar in book