Adding sports for Tokyo 2020 to be decided in 2016

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Baseball, softball and other sports that may be hoping to join the Olympics in 2020 will learn their fate in August 2016, just before the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“While we were thinking originally the additional events timetable could be completed in July [2015], that is too ambitious,” International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates said, according to reports. “In the interest of transparency, that is too tight a timetable.”

The IOC’s reforms passed in December — Agenda 2020 — allow Olympic host cities to propose adding events for their Games.

Baseball and softball, dropped from the Olympic program after Beijing 2008, could rejoin in 2020, given the sports are popular in Japan.

Coates said criteria for proposed sports will be ready by the end of April, according to wire reports.

Agenda 2020 limits the Summer Olympics to approximately 10,500 athletes and 310 events. London 2012 had 10,568 athletes in 302 events; Rio 2016 will have 306 events.

“I can’t tell you whether one, two, three, four, whatever number of events will be recommended ultimately, because that’s going to be largely dependent on the composition of the events,” Coates said, according to Reuters. “If there are team events involved, there’s going to be more athletes involved. If there weren’t team events involved, there could be a combination of other sports. We don’t want to rule out any combination.”

On Tuesday, IOC president Thomas Bach said he hoped the IOC will finalize decisions regarding adding events for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games before an IOC session in July.

Alpine skiing team event could be added to Olympics

Coronavirus forces Olympic soccer and boxing qualifiers to move

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Olympic qualifying events in two sports were moved from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Wednesday because of an outbreak of a deadly viral illness.

A four-nation Asian qualifying group for the women’s soccer tournament was switched from the city at the center of the health scare to Nanjing.

The Asia-Oceania boxing qualifying tournament scheduled for Feb. 3-14 in Wuhan was cancelled. No new plans were announced.

The decisions followed Chinese health authorities telling people in Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings.

The Asian Football Confederation said the round-robin group — featuring host China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand — will be played on Feb. 3-9, retaining the same dates, in Nanjing.

More than 500 people have been infected and at least 17 killed since the outbreak emerged last month. The illness comes from a newly identified type of coronavirus.

Cases have also been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. All involve people from Wuhan or who recently traveled there.

In the soccer qualifiers in China, two teams advance to a four-nation playoff round in March. That will decide which two teams from Asia join host Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Russia trounces U.S. boys’ hockey team to wrap up Youth Olympic Games

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Russia routed the U.S. 4-0 in the boys’ hockey gold medal game Wednesday, the final day of the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The U.S. had more penalties (three) than shots (two) in the first period. Russia’s Matvei Michkov converted the first power play and added an even-strength goal later in the period. Another power-play goal in the second period ran the score to 3-0.

Michkov just turned 15 and is projected as a top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

The gold medal was Russia’s ninth of the Games, excluding events that featured mixed-nationality teams, and 27th overall medal. Both numbers were the best of the competition.

Switzerland finished second in the medal tally with nine golds and 22 total. Japan, the surprise winner in girls’ hockey, matched Switzerland with nine golds among its 17 medals.

The U.S. had two gold medals and 11 total. Kiernan Fagan took gold in the boys’ ski slopestyle and silver in ski big air. Dusty Henricksen won the boys’ snowboard slopestyle.

Fagan, who turned 18 during the Games, already has a couple of World Cup podiums and finished 12th in slopestyle in last year’s world championships. He also took silver in big air and slopestyle in last year’s world junior championships.

Henricksen, who’ll turn 17 next month, placed 17th in the World Cup big air event last month in Atlanta.

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