Softball, baseball back in Olympics
Softball and baseball are returning to the Olympics, meaning Ken Eriksen's wardrobe just might bear more gold than green four years from now.
USF's veteran softball coach, who also heads the U.S. women's national team, received the long-awaited news Wednesday afternoon. In addition to softball, the International Olympic Committee also voted to approve the addition of baseball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Softball and baseball were ousted from the 2012 and '16 Olympics following an IOC vote in 2005. It's not certain Eriksen will coach the 2020 women's team, but he recently led the U.S. to its first gold medal since 2010 at the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship in Canada.
"What a day for all those that love the bat and ball game," Eriksen said in a text message.
"Congragulations to those that have stumped for the inclusion of softball and baseball back into the Olympic Games. A long, arduous and emotional roller-coaster that has taken over eight years to finally end where these two sports rightfully belong, on the world's biggest sporting stage."
In four prior Olympics appearances, the U.S. claimed three gold medals and one silver. The current national team lineup includes Bulls pitching coach Jess Moore (the 2013 Pac 12 Pitcher of the Year at Oregon), five current or former University of Florida players, and former LSU and Chamberlain star Bianka Bell.