POSTED: August 13th 2009

Baseball and softball fail to make the Copenhagen cut

Jacques Rogge: ringing some changes / Image: IOC/Juilliart
Jacques Rogge: ringing some changes / Image: IOC/Juilliart

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

BERLIN: The results of the individual voting, round by round, for the two sports going forward for a 2016 decision by the International Olympic Committee made grim reading for the losers.

Baseball will have been hugely disappointed not only to fail to gain re-entry to the Games, after competing at Beijing last year, but in failing to reach the final round of voting for the second sport.

Similar sentiments will have been shared by softball, whose short-lived, 12-year Olympic tenure also came to an end in Beijing. At least softball did make it to the final hurdle, albeit collecting only two of the possible 14 votes, far behind golf.

Officials of the international squash organisations will also wonder what went wrong after a busy campaign which even involved bringing the sport's top players to meet and greet at international sports conferences and congresses.

Voting among the executive board was conducted in two separate secret ballots with IOC president Jacques Rogge, as is his custom and right, withholding his personal vote. To win, any one of the seven sports (baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash) needed an absolutely majority of eight votes.

The first ballot ended up: rugby 7, karate 3, baseball 2, golf and softball one each and roller sports and squash each no votes.

Conclusive win

Roller sports and squash were thus dropped from the second round which rugby won conclusively with nine votes followed by softball 2 and baseball, golf and karate all one each.

Rugby was thus happily excluded from the second round of balloting for the other favoured sport.

The first round ended: karate 5, golf 3, baseball and softball 2 each then roller sports and squash one each. A subsidiary vote saw roller sports eliminated by squash 10-4 for the right to contest the second round.

Golf now came to the fore with six votes, followed by karate 4, baseball and softball two each and squash none. Squash thus failed to make the third round in which golf was again the winner with seven votes ahead of karate 4, softball 2 and baseball one.

Baseball's humiliation was thus complete with the sport, not even managing to make the final round of voting. This proved fourth time lucky for golf which attracted a decisive nine votes, pursued - at a distance - by karate on three and softball on two.

Harvey Schiller, president of the International Baseball Federation, would have little doubt about where the blame lay for both sport's failures.

Hours before voting began, he commented: "If we are rejected the decision will be based on the roster sizes of both baseball and softball. I don't believe one can be brought in without the other based on gender concerns.

"We have reached out to softball on numerous occasions including the last hours to no avail. If baseball is added, there may be concerns with the women's game and vice versa for softball. They should have listened!"

Keywords · IOC · Berlin · executive board · voting · baseball · golf · karate · roller sports · rugby · softball · squash · Schiller · IBAF

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