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OLYMPICS ROUNDUP

Samaranch joins task force on softball

October 27, 2006|From the Associated Press

Softball has a new, powerful lobbyist to push for its reinstatement in the Olympics -- former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Samaranch has agreed to serve as honorary chairman of a task force aimed at regaining Olympic status for the sport, the International Softball Federation said Thursday.

Although women's softball will be played at the 2008 Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee voted to remove the event from the program for the 2012 London Games.

"Obviously we continue to feel very strongly that softball should still be an Olympic sport beyond the 2008 Games," ISF President Don Porter said. "The task force is going to be made up of people that will be able to help us convince the IOC of that, and having their former president as honorary chairperson can only bolster the efforts of the group."

The ISF hopes to get softball back into the Olympics when the IOC votes in 2009 on the 2016 Olympic program.

Samaranch retired as IOC president in 2001. Softball debuted in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Baseball was also eliminated from the 2012 program and is seeking reinstatement for 2016.

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Ski-cross is given the best chance of becoming an event at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Women's ski jumping and a team event in Alpine skiing were considered longshots for inclusion.

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