If you missed baseball and softball at the 2012 Olympics in London, then you’ll be in for a treat during the next Summer Games.
Both sports will be back for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee voted Wednesday. The IOC also voted to put skateboarding, sports climbing, karate and surfing on the roster.
Baseball first appeared in the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, but it had largely been a “demonstration sport” during its history in the games. It became an official medal sport at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and the United States earned gold in 2000 and bronze in 1996 and 2008.
Until 2000, baseball Olympians were required to be amateurs, but there was a lack of professionals even after that, considering the Summer Olympics take place in the heat of the Major League Baseball season. It’s been a good place to showcase future talent — Brett Anderson, Jake Arrieta, Dexter Fowler and Stephen Strasburg were on the bronze medal-winning team in 2008 — but baseball doesn’t get the same level of excitement as sports like basketball and hockey get with big names on their rosters.
Softball is more popular, as it’s basically the only time the sport is shown on a national stage at a professional level. Team USA also was dominant, winning three gold medals and one silver in the four Olympics the sport was played in. However, neither softball nor baseball were approved beyond Tokyo, where baseball is the most popular sport.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Apr 27, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Detailed view of the Franklin batting gloves worn by St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina as he holds a baseball bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports