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Baseball-softball, four more sports take next step toward Olympics

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic leaders have recommended the addition of baseball-softball and four other sports to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

IOC executive board member C.K. Wu tells The Associated Press that the board backed the proposed inclusion of the combined baseball-softball bid, as well as surfing, karate, skate boarding and sport climbing.

The decision, which was widely expected, came Wednesday on the opening day of a three-day board meeting in Lausanne.

The five sports were presented as a package.

The recommendation will go to a vote of the full International Olympic Committee at its general assembly in Rio de Janeiro in August on the eve of the Summer Games.

IOC vice president John Coates says the executive board was unanimous in its decision to recommend the addition of five sports to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He says baseball-softball, surfing, karate, skateboarding and sport climbing were approved as a single package on Wednesday. They will be presented that way when the recommendation is put to a vote at the IOC general assembly in Rio de Janeiro in August on the eve of the Summer Games.

Coates says the five represent a “good balance between sports that are very popular in Japan and those better engaging youth.”

He notes that baseball and softball have a huge following in Japan, and karate has a long tradition in the country.

Coates says sport climbing is an emerging sport in Europe, surfing offers a “whole new culture” to the Olympics and skateboarding is particularly appealing to youth.

Coates said the IOC’s recommendation follows an agreement between the International Roller Skating Federation and the International Skateboarding Federation. He says the ISF will run the sport at the Olympics.

MORE: Baseball qualifying for 2020 Tokyo Games would be tricky

Bolt’s London Olympic spikes stolen

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DERBY, England (AP) A signed pair of running shoes worn by eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has been stolen from an address in Linton, Derbyshire.

The white, blue and red spikes were used by the Jamaican great in a 100 meters heat at the 2012 Games, Derbyshire Police said.

“The spikes are part of an extensive collection that I have built-up over the last 10 years,” the victim said. “There are only four or five pairs of spikes that have been signed from the London 2012 Olympics, they are absolutely irreplaceable.”

The victim did not want to be named.

A 35-year-old man has been charged in connection with the theft. The shoes have yet to be recovered.

Bolt, 31, who retired after the 2017 world championships in London, won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay titles at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics, although he later lost the 2008 relay gold after a team-mate was disqualified for doping.

Anne Donovan, basketball Hall of Famer, gold medalist, dies at 56

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Anne Donovan, a Hall of Fame basketball player and Olympic gold medalist, has died of heart failure at age 56.

Donovan coached the Storm to a 2004 WNBA title.

“While it is extremely difficult to express how devastating it is to lose Anne, our family remains so very grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful human being,” Donovan’s family said in a statement, according to reports. “Anne touched many lives as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and coach.

Donovan, a 6-foot-8 center, made the 1980 U.S. Olympic team (as its youngest player after her freshman year at Old Dominion) that ended up missing the Moscow Games due to the U.S. boycott.

She then earned gold with the U.S. in 1984 and 1988, being the oldest player on the latter team at 26. She was inducted as a player into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 and into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Donovan later was an assistant coach for the 2004 Olympic champion team and head coach for the 2008 Beijing team that took gold. She also was the first female head coach of a WNBA champion team with the Storm in 2004.

“USA Basketball mourns the passing of Anne Donovan,” USA Basketball said in a statement. “She played for her first USA Basketball team in 1977 and during her Hall of Fame, 31-year USA career, she was a member of five U.S. Olympic teams and four USA World Championship teams as an athlete and coach, culminating in leading the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team to gold as our head coach in Beijing. She used to say she bled red, white and blue. As much as we remember her accomplishments in the game, we mourn a great friend who will be greatly missed.”