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Softball's Fate Remains Uncertain

The International Olympic Committee, in session now through February 10 in Turin, Italy, is expected to address the question of softball in the 2012 Olympic Games. 

One-third of the IOC members must support the motion to get softball on the meeting agenda, and then a majority must be in favor to get the sport back on the London program. 

Anita DeFrantz, one of the U.S. delegates to the IOC, is expected to introduce the motion Thursday, February 9. Turin is seven hours ahead of U.S. central time. 

Associated Press has reported that “a number of IOC members feel it would damage the organization's credibility to go back on a decision made just seven months ago. Others believe softball and baseball deserve a second chance because no replacements were voted in, leaving 26 instead of 28 sports for the 2012 London Games.” 

British newspaper The Daily Telegraph just published a story today stating that the British Olympic Association (BOA) was working hard to convince members of the International Olympic Committee that softball should be included in the London 2012 Games, as this could help Britain reach its target of fourth spot in the overall medal table. 

It quoted Simon Clegg, chief executive of the BOA: "We make no secret of the fact that the BOA have tried to influence the IOC members. We will support softball as it can contribute to the fourth place in the medals table, which is our goal. 

"Our softball team failed to make it to Athens by just one place and, apart from our two hockey teams, that actually makes it our most successful Olympic team sport. The vote on softball's exclusion came after we had won the bid so the cost of staging the sport is already accounted for." 

In New Zealand, the “Stuff” web site www.stuff.co.nz featured a story about former New Zealand pitching great Michael White backing softball’s bid for an “Olympic Games reprieve.” 

It quoted White as saying, “"The Olympic Games put women's softball on the map in the U.S. Some of the funding came through to the men's game as well. We were always hoping that men would get a shot (at the Olympics) as well. Obviously if women are out, men are out too. I definitely want to see them back. It's good for softball. You can't buy that kind of exposure." 

Stuff also reported that IOC president Jacques Rogge said on Monday that if the reinstatement did not happen at the February 8-10 Session in Turin, it would be too late for it to feature in London.