Softball, along with baseball, has been dropped from the 2012 Olympic Games program. They were the only two sports out of 28 dropped in a secret vote by International Olympic Committee members in Singapore July 8.
The IOC considered replacing them from the sports of golf, rugby, squash, karate and roller sports but none received the two-thirds majority to get on the program
Baseball and softball are the first sports cut from the Olympics since water polo in 1936. Softball has been in the Games since 1996, and will still be on the program in Beijing in 2008.
The International Herald Tribune reported that Don Porter, president of the International Softball Federation, was “devastated” by the vote. “We thought that we had a lot of support,” Porter said. “The members told us we were getting support, but obviously we weren’t.”
Baseball, softball and modern pentathlon were originally on the chopping block in 2002, a move spearheaded by IOC president Jacques Rogge. However, the sports were given new life when many IOC members voiced concern that the proper review was not given to the sports.
“I just think the IOC wanted some opportunity to introduce several new sports … and in order to do that, they had to remove a couple of sports and that’s what they did today,” the International Herald Tribune reported Porter as saying.
Porter felt that the Europeans, which have strong voting power in the IOC, supported modern pentathlon because of its tradition. The sport has been on the program since the inception of the modern Olympic Games in 1896.
After announcing the results of the vote, Rogge said, "Needless to say, these sports are very, very disappointed. However, I have to emphasize the fact that they should not fear this purge. The fact is that they shall not be included in the program of the 2012 Olympic Games, but it does not disqualify them forever as Olympic sports."
Rogge said baseball and softball will be eligible to win back their place in future games.
"I would like to invite the leaders of these sports that will not be included in the program to make their very best efforts during the coming years so as to be able to convince the session that they deserve to come back to the Olympic Games in 2016. We shall support them in their efforts," he said.
The IOC will keep the voting figures secret, based on a request by the international federations. Rogge said the figures will be seen only by an independent official, who will send the results by sealed envelope to an IOC notary in Lausanne, Switzerland. Rogge will only open the envelope in the case of a voting dispute.