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Press Release August 24-25, 2013

posted Sep 6, 2013, 3:47 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 6, 2013, 4:06 PM ]

Softball confirms its strengths as ideal sport for women of all abilities at Special Olympics, in countdown to IOC vote

Special Olympics Softball Tournament highlights importance of sport
for women, as IOC members prepare to vote on the sports programme
for 2020 Olympic Games


MERCER COUNTY, NJ - The appeal and accessibility of Baseball and Softball as sports for athletes from all backgrounds, abilities and cultures was highlighted at the Special Olympics Softball tournament underway in New Jersey this weekend.

The tournament, which is open to men as well as women softball players, brings together the best Special Olympics softball teams and players from USA, along with international teams from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico also participating.  Each of the 23 competing teams qualified for the August event through a series of tournaments throughout the summer.

This event is a prelude to next year, where nearly 3,500 athletes will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and 50,000 family, friends and spectators will come together for the Special Olympics USA Games.

Millions of girls and young women in sporting organisations, schools, and community and business groups around the world are hoping IOC members will vote for softball to be included on the 2020 Olympic Games programme to boost the number of women who can participate at the Games, along with baseball.

"We strongly support the IOC's Sport For All philosophy and programmes, and our vision is to work with the IOC and the Olympic Movement to give every boy and girl the chance to play ball and play sport," said Don Porter, co-President of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), which is leading the campaign to have softball and baseball included at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Softball is one of the most popular sports in the world for women, and is played by women in more than 140 countries, and expanding its reach day by day, especially in Muslim countries.

"We hope the IOC can find a way to get softball and baseball in the Olympic Games because the Olympics and the values of the Movement mean so much to women everywhere, especially girls who dream of representing their country at the Games. We hope the IOC can find a way to make those dreams come true for millions of these girls and young women," Porter said.

Softball's strengths were on display at the Special Olympics Softball event, showing that there is always a role on the team for every size athlete, skill-level, and for athletes with impairments.

"Adding a sport to the Olympic program that women across the world enjoy to play, like Softball, will give more women more opportunities to be empowered through sport, and help to make the Olympic Movement and sport more relevant to millions of women everywhere," Porter said, "And this will help to encourage and create more ladders for more women to participate in sport at all levels, including leadership roles."

"This will inspire future generations of girls, and women to take up sport," he said.

A final decision for the sport will be taken on September 8th during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Scores, updates, and photos from the Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational Tournament will be available by visiting www.2014specialolympics.org 




MEDIA: For more information, please contact:
Michael Pirrie at mpirrie2012@gmail.com, +44 78675 04856
Oscar Lopez at
olopez@worldbaseballandsoftball.org, +41 791 999 677
Lori Nolan at lnolan@worldbaseballandsoftball.org


About the WBSC 2020 Olympic Bid:



  1. A worldwide fan base of 200 million spectators at the professional and amateur levels -- with 150+ million tickets sold last year to pro games alone.
  2. Women -- Full gender equity -- the global growth of softball ensures greater access to sport for women in all cultures -- and the growth is particularly strong among Muslim women.
  1. A unique sport anyone, anywhere can play -- regardless of age, gender, disability, culture, social or economic standing. There are no barriers to playing this game.  
  1. A great spectator experience at the pro level, which is what the Games would enjoy -- driven by the electrifying athleticism of men and women playing the same game in two distinct styles.
  2. A growing global broadcast audience: the World Baseball Classic -- the newest elite global championship -- was broadcast into 200 countries this year. And the broadcast of the Softball World Cup in July reached 140 countries.
  3. The robust growth of the international game -- with new tournaments such as the Premier 12, the Under 12, and Under 21 in baseball and the Under 16 World Cup in softball -- more national teams are competing every day.
  4. Digital media youth appeal -- professional baseball has one of the largest digital media operation and youth followings in world sport -- and that expertise would be brought to the Olympic arena.
  5. Commercial Appeal -- baseball and softball have shown a remarkable ability to attract corporate sponsorships to all major tournament -- even the U12 Baseball World Championship was fully sponsored in Chinese Taipei.
  6. Investments in the future of global sport -- the partnership between the WBSC and the IOC would benefit the culture of sport worldwide -- and strengthen the Olympic Movement.
  7. A new team sport to drive participation in emerging nations -- millions of young boys and girls would have new opportunities to dream about playing for their national teams in the Olympic Games.


About Special Olympics:

Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org


About the World Baseball Softball Confederation: 

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) was formed this year to create a single federation designed to permanently align, merge and manage the ultimate aspirations of the sports and to achieve our global vision of giving every boy and girl in the world a chance to play the game.

Following the guidance of the International Olympic Committee who indicated the necessity for baseball and softball to team up in order to be jointly considered for inclusion in the Olympic programme, the two independent IFs set out on a path toward a full and complete merger.

Last year, the WBSC established a memorandum of understanding between the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) that essentially laid out the ground rules for partnership and begin work on a Constitution that would guide the merger and provide a framework for governance, ethics and operations.

At the historic IBAF Congress in Tokyo, the Constitution was ratified and since it had already been approved by an ISF working group empowered to do so, the WBSC was officially formalized and empowered.

At present, the WBSC is run by the co-Presidents Don Porter and Riccardo Fraccari.  A unified General Assembly in 2014 will finalize all details of the organization and put forth a slate of leadership for election.