Comparing the three remaining “provisional” Olympic sports

The following breaks down the strengths of the three sports that emerged as possible “provisional” Olympic sports in 2020 and 2024, according to the Associated Press.

Baseball-Softball

– Now united as the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) after IOC vote defeats in 2005 and `09. Then, both ran for inclusion as separate Olympic sports.

– Bid proposes separate men’s baseball and women’s softball events of eight teams each, played as back-to-back six-day tournaments.

– With 296 total athletes, would add substantially to the overall Summer Games quota compared to other bidding sports.

– Both were last played at 2008 Beijing Games — having gained full medal status at the 1992 Barcelona Games (baseball) and 1996 Atlanta Games (softball).

– Both were dropped from the 2012 program in a 2005 vote, then failed to be readmitted four years later when IOC members chose golf and seven-a-side rugby.

– Baseball previously criticized for not delivering top players to the Olympics. Unlike the NHL’s concession to the Winter Games, MLB commissioner Bud Selig says the season won’t be stopped to free players for the Summer Games.

– Officials promoting the bid include WBSC vice president Antonio Castro, son of former Cuban president Fidel Castro.

Squash

– Looked like the clear favorite until February, when wrestling joined this contest after being dropped by the IOC board as a core sport in Olympic program.

– Just missed Olympic status in 2005 and then in `09, when golf and seven-a-side rugby were voted on.

– World Squash Federation created in 1967, represents 185 countries with all five continents having produced men’s and women’s world champions.

– Women’s world No. 1 Nicol David of Malaysia and men’s top-ranked player Ramy Ashour of Egypt will help present the bid to IOC board.

– Proposals call for men’s and women’s tournaments, each of 32 players, played over five days.

– Matches would be played in two glass courts, which could be set up in telegenic locations.

– Modernized presentation by using video review for refereeing decisions, and showing replays to spectators on giant screens.

– Bid has been supported by tennis superstars Roger Federer, Andre Agassi and Kim Clijsters in bid to join their sport and badminton as the third racket sport at the Olympics.

Wrestling

– Strong contender after the original Olympic sport was stunningly rejected in February. The IOC board had been predicted to drop modern pentathlon from the core program at the 2020 Summer Games.

– Even the official IOC website acknowledges “with the possible exception of” track and field, “wrestling is recognized as the world’s oldest competitive sport.”

– Governing body FILA reacted quickly to the IOC snub, which was seen as punishing complacent leadership as well as failings with the freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines.

– Serbian official Nenad Lalovic has won praise as new FILA president, elected after Swiss predecessor Raphael Martinetti was ousted within days of the IOC’s rejection.

– This month in Moscow, FILA members decided to modernize the sport by simplifying scoring, rewarding attacking tactics and increasing women’s medal classes if Olympic status is retained.

– FILA campaign has brought the United States and Iran together to support wrestling.

– Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported the bid and is scheduled to meet with Olympic officials in St. Petersburg this week.

– Presentation on Wednesday will include Jim Scherr, a former wrestler and one-time U.S. Olympic Committee CEO, and Canadian freestyle wrestler Carol Huynh, a medalist at past two Summer Games.

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