Archive for the 'London 2012' Category

IBAF fight for Baseball to Return to Olympic 2016

June 27th, 2008

During press conference with Cuban Media, IBAF President Havery Schiller talk about Baseball return to Olympic in 2016.

Havery Schiller trust that baseball will return to the Olympic Games.You can’t deny that Havery Schiller, president of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) is an optimistic person in assuring on more than one occasion that baseball will return to Olympic Games in the summer of 2016, after being excluded in London 2012.

Schiller, from the US, answered questions from sportswriters in Havana for around 45 minutes at a press conference held at the Latinoamericano baseball stadium where he once again thanked the Cuban authorities for their unlimited support for Olympic baseball.

“I have held very important and interesting talks [here] about the organization of the upcoming Beijing Games and the strategy to follow in the coming months towards a common desire, to see baseball back on the Olympic program after 2012. This is my second visit to Cuba [the first was in 1991 during the Pan American Games] and I am leaving pleased with the trip. I hope to return very soon.”

Asked about how the IBAF is going to resolve one of the main problems facing today’s baseball, the excessive length of the games, Schiller responded: “We have discussed the need to speed up the games with the umpires, especially during the competition in Beijing. In addition, a change in the rules is being studied in games beyond nine innings. When the game enters the 10th inning, the first two players in the lineup would be placed on first and second base and each team starts with one out. It’s a proposal that we have made to the eight countries that will participate in Beijing and that’s a step forward.”

Regarding the participants in the Olympics, Schiller said the United States will take players on the 40-player rosters from the Major League teams, but not those on the 25-man roster, something that could be resolved in the future. The other teams, including Cuba and Japan, will compete with their best players.

Ricardo Frascari, IBAF vice president, noted that next year’s World Cup will include qualifying rounds in Holland and Italy. He said the eight top teams in round robin play will then play the sudden death games, often considered unfair, before the semifinals and finals.

Other issues brought up at the press conference were the IBAF web site (which has a new special page for the Olympic Games, ready for live play-by-play transmission of the games and a greater quantity of statistics), the Second World Baseball Classic, a recognition to Latin America with the designation of two of the qualifying round venues, Mexico and San Juan, and a new acknowledgement to Cuba for its efforts to help nations with less development in the sport.

Schiller detailed the work being done in preparation for the International Olympic Committee General Assembly in Copenhagen, Denmark in October 2009, in which seven sports will defend their hopes to be included in the Olympic program.

“We are working hard to be the first to reach all our friends around the world, asking them to take the message of a sport with more than a hundred years of tradition and with more than a hundred countries that play it. We are optimistic of a return in 2016,” said Schiller.

So let’s hope his effort will be enough for Baseball in Olympic 2016.

IBAF hires anti-doping manager

December 21st, 2007

For International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and World of Baseball, performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) is always a serious issue for them being knock out from London 2012, to persuade Olympics Authority, they start to do as much as they can, and recently IBAF has hired a new anti-doping manager of its campaign to win reinstatement as an Olympic sport.

The one they choose is Nicki Vance, who is an Australian who has nearly 20 years of experience in the field, including a year’s stint at the World Anti-Doping Agency.

IBAF president Harvey Schiller said the federation needed a full-time anti-doping specilalist heading into the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “Our goal is to establish a leadership position in education and testing to eliminate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport,” he said in a statement.

The hiring follows last week’s release of the Mitchell Report in the United States on the use of performance-enhancing substances in major league baseball.

“Like a lot of sports that are on the Olympic program the professional leagues don’t come under the control of the federation,” Schiller said. “I believe we will be able to set a standard for all sports that have professional organizations associated with them.”

Good news is IBAF conducted 24 drug tests on the four teams at the Asian Championships and Olympic qualifier in Taiwan earlier this month, and All came back negative. However, they are all Asian, which is less influence or almost none effect or related to the Steroid Storm with Mitchell Report.

The doping problem in professional baseball — and lack of rigorous testing and sanctions — was a factor in the sport’s exclusion from the Olympics. Baseball was voted off the Olympic program by the IOC in 2005. It will be part of the Beijing Games but not the 2012 London Olympics. Baseball and softball are lobbying to be reinstated for the 2016 Olympics.

Hope this step is a Giant one to help baseball back to Olympics.

IOC OKs way to change Olympic sports

July 8th, 2007

After the IOC assembly in Guatemala, they agree to allow room for a new sports to Olympics. This time, only a simple majority will be needed for adding or removing sports. Previously, it took a two-thirds majority to bring in a new sport.

It means there is a chance that Baseball might be back to 2016.

IOC OKs way to change Olympic sports
By Stephen Wilson, AP Sports Writer
GUATEMALA CITY — The IOC agreed Friday to keep a “core” group of more than two dozen sports in future Olympics and allow room for a few new ones to be included at each games.

Under the new process, the International Olympic Committee will approve a bloc of 25-26 entrenched sports and can add two or three more to stay within a maximum of 28.

Softball and baseball, which have been dropped for the 2012 London Olympics, are lobbying to return for the 2016 games.

A simple majority will be needed for adding or removing sports. Previously, it took a two-thirds majority to bring in a new sport. The IOC assembly will vote on a list proposed by its 15-member executive board.

The changes were approved unanimously by a show of hands on the third day of the IOC assembly in Guatemala.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said the new system was “much clearer and easier to understand” and would lead to a “consistent, coherent and well-balanced program” combining a mix of individual sports, team sports and sports popular in certain regions.

The move followed widespread criticism of the arduous procedures at the IOC session in Singapore in 2005, where members voted individually on each of the 28 sports. Baseball and softball were cut for 2012 and members failed to approve any replacements, leaving only 26 sports for London.

The new process will debut at the 2009 session in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the same 26 sports on the London program put forward for the 2016 games. The executive board also will propose inclusion of one or two other sports.

In 2013, the IOC will vote on a bloc of 25 sports for the 2020 games, meaning one sport will be dropped from the permanent list after 2016 and three new sports could be added.

Meanwhile, the IOC approved the current seven sports on the Winter Olympics program — skiing, biathlon, bobsled, luge, curling, ice hockey and skating — for the 2014 games, which were awarded Wednesday to Sochi, Russia. Individual disciplines — including women’s ski jumping — still could be added.

Don Porter, president of the International Softball Federation, said he expects to compete against five to 10 other sports for inclusion at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“It makes it a little more difficult,” he said. “That’s the system they got and we have to work with it. It’s not the best. The window is a lot more narrow. We’ll work hard and hope we get a shot at it.”

The International Baseball Federation has scheduled a special congress Aug. 18 in Frankfurt, Germany, to devise a strategy for getting readmitted to the Olympics.

Rogge said core spots could only be removed for “exceptional reasons,” including mismanagement, corruption, refusal to comply with anti-doping rules or dramatic loss of popularity.

“Is this an eternal status?” he said. “No, of course not, but to remove a sport from these 25 would need very special reasons.”

Those sports outside the core group, however, would have a “different status,” Rogge said. They would be considered provisional and would be easier to drop, he said.

Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, warned Friday that “more than a handful” of Olympic sports so far have failed to comply with anti-doping rules, endangering their place in future games. But he said they have time to remedy the problems.

The sports program must be fixed seven years in advance of each games.

Rogge said the IOC would maintain its cap of 10,500 athletes for summer games but allow “flexibility” in the number of events, disciplines and teams.

In Singapore, each of the 28 existing sports was put to a “yes” or “no” vote, with softball missing out by one vote and baseball by three.

After baseball and softball were voted out, the IOC then rejected all five sports hoping to get into the games — squash, karate, rugby, golf and roller sports. All failed to get a two-thirds majority.

Baseball needed changes

October 19th, 2006

Participation of MLB players and toughen penalties for doping is the two main issue need to be addressed if Baseball wants to be reinstated, according to the IOC president Jacques Rogge.

IOC president Jacques Rogge says baseball still has work to do before it can be reinstated at the Olympics.

Baseball and softball were dropped from the Olympics after the 2008 Beijing Games in an IOC vote last year. Baseball has been an Olympic sport since 1992, but will not be part of the 2012 London Games.

“Baseball could come back if they address some issues, of which the first one is to make sure that the best players can participate in the Games and that we will have the stars of Major League Baseball,” Rogge said Thursday at a news conference.

Major League Baseball doesn’t allow players on 40-man major league rosters to go to the Olympics. The Americans didn’t even qualify for the Athens Games, eliminated with a 2-1 loss to Mexico in a qualifier.

The earliest baseball can win reinstatement is 2009, when the IOC considers the sports program for the 2016 Games.

“The second issue we want to see resolved is the attitude of MLB toward doping,” Rogge added. “We see progress there and we’re glad to see progress in the fight against doping.”

MLB players and owners agreed to toughen penalties for doping to a 50-game suspension for a first failed test, up from a 10-game suspension.

Rogge said it’s a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough.

“There is still a big gap between the rules of the MLBPA and the WADA anti-doping code,” Rogge said. “If an athlete under the jurisdiction of WADA is caught for anabolic steroids, he will have a suspension of two years. This is not the case in the major leagues where they suspend players for a number of matches.”

As for softball, Rogge said the issue there is one of ‘universality’ and he said he’d like to see the sport played in more countries before it gets back into the Games.

So the IOC already spoken, now is the turn that Major League Baseball need to respond.

Baseball back to Olympics unlikely?

March 29th, 2006

According to the Dejan Kovacevic of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he thought baseball is unlikely back to Olympics for three reasons.

Dejan, With the conclusion of the World Baseball Classic, my thoughts turn to bringing back Olympic baseball. How much of a chance do you think there is that MLB owners would be willing to copy the NHL and stop the season for the Olympics? I would think the IOC couldn’t resist bringing baseball back under these conditions.

Olympic hockey is much more fun with NHL players than it was before they participated. The every-game-is-crucial atmosphere of the Olympics, coupled with the best players in the world, makes those games as much fun as any Stanley Cup series.

Joe Deffner of Forest, Va.

KOVACEVIC: I love Olympic hockey since the NHL became involved, Joe, and I never have made any secret of that. The true beauty of it, I think, is that so many nations are competitive and take such pride in it. Witness the Finns and Swedes making the final, and not one eyebrow being raised by it.

That might be why I enjoyed the Classic as much I did, too. The games played in San Juan carried an almost-soccer-level joy to them in the stands. (And they were stands, not seats). The players — apart from some of those on the U.S. roster — looked like they took every step to make sure they were in peak form for the tournament. (Ask Salomon Torres why he was throwing his peak fastball way back in minicamp.) And, as was the case with hockey, Cuba and Japan rose up to show that baseball truly is an international game. (Especially Cuba, I think, because of the much tougher path it took to gain the final.)

But baseball back in the Olympics? Very unlikely, I think, for three reasons:

1. The owners are not going to shut down their season even for a week, much less two. They will not want to give up the money at that late point in the season. They will be even more leery of injury than with the Classic. And, unlike the NHL, MLB is not in need of the attention that comes with such a tournament.

2. The IOC really does not want baseball. That is something I saw and heard in abundance when covering the most recent Summer Olympics in Athens. All concerned felt the tournament was awful — which it was, pitting a bunch of Class AA players against each other — and were embarrassed by it. Moreover, and maybe more important, there is an IOC perception that baseball is strictly an American sport. This, of course, led to the IOC decision to dump baseball after Beijing, as well as the remarkably unfair call to throw out softball, too. (The women’s tournament, though thoroughly dominated by the U.S., did, indeed, pit the best against the best.)

3. By all accounts, the Classic did better than expected for a debut in terms of attendance and ratings, and this without the U.S. barely making a dent. That allows MLB to ride this rather than the Olympics as its primary international vehicle, all while keeping control of the proceedings.

All these concern is very reasonable and possible, and is well known by baseball fan including me. However, I still want to have Baseball in Olympics from the bottom of my heart, hope it could come true.

Cuba Hopes for Reinstitution

March 21st, 2006

Like other Baseball countries, Cuba, who just lost the final game of World Baseball Classic, also hope the Olympic Baseball will still exist in London 2012.

According to Prensa Latina, the Latin Amreican News Agency:

With its showing in the World Baseball Classic, Cuba hopes that baseball is reinstituted in the Olympic Games, starting with the London Olympics in 2012.

By decisión of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, the sport of balls and strikes is scheduled to be played for the final time in Olympic competition during the Beijing Games in 2008.

IOC top executive, Jacque Rogge, argued that not all the best ball players were coming to the Olympic Games, as the Majors Leagues did not allow their members to participate.

But Cuban, Japanese, Korean and Canadian Olympians proved at WBC the Olympic baseball competitions have showcased great ballplayers all along.

Korea and Japan eliminated the USA Team, a constellation of Big League aces, in Round 2, while Cuba cruised over the teams of Venezuela, Dominican Republica and Puerto Rico, made up of Big League stars.

“I hope the Classic remains and those responsible for eliminating baseball from the Olympic Games were able to see the great show that baseball is all about,” said Cuban left fielder Frederich Cepeda after the final game in San Diego on Monday night.

For his part, Cuban manager Higinio Velez agreed: “Baseball is ready to return to the Olympic Games, but should do so with the best players, like the World Baseball Classic.”

More than 400 professional players participated in the 16-nation tournament, which exceded the expectations of the organizers: A total of 737,416 fans filled the stands for the 39 games that were played in Tokyo, San Juan, Phoenix, Orlando, Anaheim and San Diego.

Millions tv-viewers from all the continents watched the games, which were broadcast by ESPN, in English and Spanish.

Maybe the World Baseball Classic will become the biggest event for Baseball, but I still hope that IOC can change their mind and let baseball still in Olympics. And baseball will only become greater and greater if Olympic Baseball and World Baseball Classic can play each two year.

Will Classic Resurrect Olympic Baseball?

March 20th, 2006

After World Baseball Classic, the next target of Baseball World is Olympic Games, and it hopes to resurrect Baseball in London 2012.
Below is what Alan Schwarz said on Baseball America:

SAN DIEGO–Reverberations from the World Baseball Classic are being felt for thousands of miles, from the Caribbean Sea to the Sea of Japan. They could also be stretching thousands of days into the future, all the way to the summer of 2012 in London.

The Players Association’s Gene Orza and Major League Baseball’s Paul Archey, the two main architects of the Classic, both said this weekend that the success of the inaugural WBC could cause the International Olympic Committee to reconsider its decision last summer to drop baseball from the Olympics following the 2008 Games in Beijing. Each said that he will make the appropriate overtures to Olympic officials after the WBC final between Cuba and Japan on Monday night.

“There’s a decent shot that in the aftermath of this tournament, people are going to say that this baseball sport has international appeal, and it’s not a solely American enterprise–and maybe it does belong in the Olympics,” Orza said. Added Archey, “You look at the passion of the fans and the interest and the ratings worldwide, and I would think the IOC members have to be questioning whether they made a mistake. Clearly this has international appeal, not just appeal in one or two countries.”

Last July, baseball and softball became the first sports dropped from the Olympic program since polo in 1936. Olympic officials have long frowned on MLB not making any of its top stars or players available for the Olympics–as does the National Basketball Association in its offseason and the National Hockey League during its regular season–instead sending mainly minor leaguers in 2000 and 2004. MLB’s historically lenient anti-doping policies also hurt baseball’s cause.

Orza said, however, that doubts as to baseball’s international appeal also hurt the sport’s image particularly in the eyes of Europe-based voters, who perhaps could be swayed by the success of the WBC. The 39 games will draw more than 700,000 fans, and both Orza and Archey said that the event will recoup its more than $50 million in expenses to turn a profit in its debut.

Orza emphasized that while last summer’s vote appeared to kill baseball for the 2012 London Games, the decision could be revisited: “I know the IOC has the power to reinstate baseball for 2012,” he said, “and that deadline has not yet passed.” Orza said that he did not yet know the specific deadline.

IOC officials could not be reached for comment.

Baseball became a demonstration sport in 1984 and has been a medal sport since 1992. Cuba has won three of the four gold medals since then; the United States won in 2000 with a team of minor leaguers led by current Brewers righthander Ben Sheets.

MLB will certainly continue to not disrupt its season to make major leaguers available for any Olympics. However, Orza said that the WBC proves major league players are not necessary for an appealing, worldwide tournament.

“The Japanese team has two major leaguers on it; the Korean team has five to eight depending on who’s playing; the Cuban team has none,” Orza said. “There aren’t very many American players playing in these final three games. That’s the message–that there are players in the world who are capable of being the best players in the world, who are not major leaguers. So the absence of major leaguers does not necessarily define the value of having baseball in the Olympics.”

Team Cuba spokesman Pedro Cabrera said that his national federation would join any appeals to Olympic officials to reinstate baseball. Speaking through a translator at Petco Park on Sunday, Cabrera suggested that MLB’s reluctance to appease Olympic officials had been the cause of baseball’s disappearance from the Games.

“When the Classic is over, we’ll do an analysis of the whole structure of the event–we will have to do it ourselves, and Major League Baseball will also have to do it,” Cabrera said. Asked if MLB were an obstacle to baseball in the Olympics, he added, “If they are, we’ll have to find a solution to that. I think that the presence of Cuba in the Classic means that when we have communication, we can all come together and make things happen.”

Japan manager Sadaharu Oh pledged to lend his support as well.

“This first WBC event has been a great success–it’s showed a lot of positives for the baseball world,” Oh said. “But I don’t really know how the Olympic committees will perceive the success. If there’s anything I can do to bring back this great sport to the Olympic games, I would love to do it.”

Although plans for the WBC were formally announced just days after the IOC vote last summer–with MLB commissioner Bud Selig nonchalantly claiming, “I don’t know if, frankly, I consider it a blow”–Archey said that the existence of a quadrennial World Baseball Classic did not preclude baseball’s inclusion in the Olympics. He likened the WBC to soccer’s World Cup tournament, which coexists peacefully with the Olympic Games.

Orza said the WBC, which is expected to be held again in 2009 and then every four years, will continue regardless of whether it resurrects Olympic baseball.

“It’s a win-win situation for the tournament,” Orza said of the WBC. “It either does that and has that to its credit, or it doesn’t and it becomes a singularly worldwide event in baseball and it takes on increased luster and stature. So either way it works out.”

Orza assessed the chance that baseball could be reinstated for the 2012 London Games at 50-50.

“If you switch around a few European votes, baseball is back in,” he said. “I think that the European countries that did not vote for baseball see it largely as a uniquely American enterprise, and not appreciating the degree to which baseball has expanded to other countries.”

Archey remained more reserved, but hopeful: “Believe me, we’ll get the word out on this event. But it’s not in our hands. We don’t have a vote.”

To be as a truly baseball fan, I do hope baseball could be reinstated in 2012 and keep in the Olympic Games forever.

Cuban Experts Talk Olympic Baseball

February 14th, 2006

Cuba, the powerhouse of international baseball, criticized the IOC about handle baseball and softball in London 2012 Olympics Games. They thought IOC President Jacques Rogge using mere formalities to deny baseball in Olympics.

Anyhow, baseball has another chance to in Olympics 2016 in the IOC meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.

Cuban analysts at a television roundtable criticized the latest International Olympic Committee´s opposition to the possible return of baseball and softball to the Olympic program.

Cuban Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation press chief Pedro Cabrera said the 118th IOC session in the Italian city of Turin swept under the rug the return of baseball to the Olympics, based on mere formalities.

Baseball and softball will be excluded from the London 2012 Olympics because IOC President Jacques Rogge played down letters addressed to him by 45 members of that entity to resume talks on the issue.

Rogge rejected their proposal and asked them the following question: Do you accept that this session reconsider the baseball-softball return to the Olympics, leaving out the formalities required to include this topic on the agenda?

The voting is well known: the respect for “required formalities” prevailed by a small margin.

Talks on baseball were excluded by 46 votes against and 42 in favor, and softball, 47 against and 43 in favor.

Which were those formalities?

The Olympic Charter regulates that an item previously analyzed and decided upon can only be examined again if an extraordinary session is called in advance.

Both sports were taken out of the London 2012 Olympic program in the IOC Session in Singapore seven months ago.

However, their inclusion in the 2016 Olympics will be discussed in the IOC meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.

Participants at the roundtable made it clear that Rogge himself had termed those formalities an anachronism.

Baseball entered the Olympic program for the first time in Barcelona 1992, following tireless efforts by late Puerto Rican German Rieckehoff and Cuban Manuel Gonzalez Guerra.

Cuba was the champ at Barcelona, Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004, while the US won that of Sydney 2000.

Two Strikes For Olympic Baseball And Softball

February 9th, 2006

Bad news for Baseball and Softball, at second try, both sports did not get the majority vote to reinstate.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted against putting the reinstatement of baseball and softball at the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, on the agenda. Both sports failed to get a required majority for putting the proposal to a vote, with members voting 46-42 against baseball and 47-43 against softball.The sports were eliminated from the Olympic program in July but remain on the program for the Beijing 2008 Summer Games.

The support of at least 51 per cent of IOC members was required before reinstatement could go to a secret ballot. After that each sport would have needed majority backing in a second vote.

The London 2012 Games now has 26 sports on the program, two short of the maximum. Softball and baseball will be eligible to reapply later for readmission at the 2016 Games.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said, “we will work closely with the two federations. We will work with them at the Olympic Games at Beijing and see if there’s a chance to come back in the program. I understand the disappointment of those who pleaded for the reinstatement”.

U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman (USOC) Peter Ueberroth is disappointed with the decision not to reinstate the two sports. The USOC released a statement Thursday from Ueberroth saying, “the dreams of young people from around the world who aspire to compete in the Olympic Games in softball and baseball were dealt a setback”. Ueberroth says the USOC will continue working with the international federations to get the two sports reinstated.

Members from Cuba, Australia, Guatemala, Brazil, Spain, Canada, South Africa and Taiwan were among those speaking in favour of readmitting both sports. Several delegates said the Singapore vote should be overturned because no replacement sports were brought in.

Looks like Baseball is almost impossible to play in London 2012, hope it can still have another chance to in London and in Olympics forever.

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