With softball's re-introduction to the Summer Olympics – the sport was voted back in Wednesday – national teams such as Canada and China will play ball on the world's biggest stage beginning in 2020.

Softball officially re-introduced into Olympics

Sport will be played at 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo

Eleven years after the sport was sent to the sidelines, softball is officially back in the Olympic Games.

Softball and baseball – along with surfing, karate, skateboarding and sport-climbing – were all voted on the Olympic docket by unanimous vote today (Wednesday) in Rio de Janeiro, where the International Olympic Committee met in advance of the beginning of the 2016 Games.

Softball was voted out in 2005, and last played at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. And though it’s long been assumed by those in softball circles that it would be reintroduced for Tokyo, it wasn’t until Wednesday’s vote that it became official.

“We’re not surprised because we knew about six weeks ago that the IOC had approved and recommended softball and baseball be included,” said Greg Timm, president of the local White Rock Renegades softball association as well as chair of last month’s Women’s World Softball Championships, which were held in South Surrey.

“Since 2005, softball has been turned upside-down because of what we feel was a mistake (to vote it out), and it’s taken 11 years to navigate the politics, and align it properly with baseball, but now, it’s a very exciting time for our sport.”

Having the Olympics rings associated with the sport will do wonders for those involved on a variety of levels, Timm said.

For starters, national women’s softball teams from across the globe will begin to receive more funding, which should mean tournaments such as the just-revived Canada Cup – set for Softball City in 2017 – should see an influx of talent.

As well, collegiate softball programs both in Canada and the United States will likely be better funded, which means more opportunity for young players, including those on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

“For a lot of kids around here, their worlds just changed about an hour ago,” Timm said Wednesday, shortly after the vote was announced.

The Canadian national team that recently wrapped up its 2016 season with a bronze-medal at world championships boasts a handful of Lower Mainland athletes, including South Surrey pitcher Sara Groenewegen, who, at just 21 years old, would be in the prime of her playing career when the 2020 Games approach.

And though the Olympics were not an option for a generation of players, Timm was excited for players like Groenewegen, as well as those younger than her.

“We lost a generation of Olympians before, but now for this new generation of young players, it’s a chance to compete at an Olympic level.”

Jenn Salling, a longtime member of the Canadian national team who played on the final Olympic team in 2008, told Peace Arch News last month that the Olympics would “bring life to the sport again” and was excited for the next crop of Olympians.

“For a lot of them, they probably thought this wasn’t even a possibility anymore,” she said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Sources volunteers face off at the organization’s ‘Enchanted’ gala – one as a fairy and the other as her magic-mirror reflection – held in 2019. (Tiffany Kwong photo)
‘Rising infections’ prompts move to virtual Sources gala

Silent auction, raffle opens to public at 9 a.m. Oct. 30

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

A surveillance camera in a photo posted to the Project Iris page on surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Quality surveillance video helps catch crooks, Surrey Mounties say

Charges laid in connection to break-and-enter in Guildford area

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read