LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – The International Softball Federation (ISF) began its campaign to return its sport to the Olympic Program in 2016, when former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch today chaired the initial meeting of the ISF Strategic Task Force. 

ISF President Don Porter commented after the day-long planning meeting, “We have taken the first step to ensure that softball and its athletes will be an integral part of the Olympic Games in 2016 and beyond.” 

The Task Force focused on softball’s strengths and the value that it brings to the Olympic Movement, including the sport’s universality and the participation of women at the highest level of world sport. 

The Task Force will now finalize an integrated strategic plan covering International Communications and Olympic Family Relations that will be submitted for approval to the ISF Executive Board by April 5, 2007. 

The meeting was held in the home city of the IOC, and was also attended by, among others, C.K. Wu, the IOC Member from Taiwan and recently-elected President of the International Amateur Boxing Association; Ms. Beng Choo LOW, Vice President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia; and Michele Smith, a two-time Olympic softball gold medalist. 

The ISF Strategic Task Force comprises athlete representatives, IOC members, National Olympic Committee members, and international business and media representatives. 

Mr. Porter said, “Softball narrowly failed to make the 2012 Olympic Program by one vote at the IOC Session in Singapore in (July) 2005. We intend to use softball’s participation in the Olympic Program at the 2008 Beijing Games to emphasize the sport’s worldwide popularity and appeal.” 

The ISF is the world governing body of the sport as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). Softball (women's fastpitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 128 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide. 

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