28/07/2021 - 07/08/2021

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Baseball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

Tokyo 2020 Olympics officially open after moving ceremony that included Japanese baseball greats Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima and Hideki Matsui

Tokyo 2020 Olympics officially open after moving ceremony that included Japanese baseball greats Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima and Hideki Matsui
23/07/2021
“The sport of baseball/softball is very proud to be part of this historic moment for the Olympic Movement and the entire world,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari, who was in attendance to witness the Opening Ceremony.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are officially open after an emotional and spectacular Opening Ceremony held at Tokyo’s National Stadium on Friday, where tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron.

Japanese baseball greats Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima and Hideki Matsui participated in the delivery of the Olympic torch at the ceremony, while Japanese Olympic Softball Team head coach Reika Utsugi participated in the Olympic oath.

During the next two weeks, the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will bring light and hope to a world in need of good news and positive messages, the Olympic Movement and international sports leaders hope. Olympic softball, which opened on 21 July, will run through the 27th July, with baseball to follow from 28th to 7 August.

“The sport of baseball/softball is very proud to be part of this historic moment for the Olympic Movement and the entire world,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari, who was in attendance to witness the Opening Ceremony. “We’re grateful to the International Olympic Committee, Japan and its people to give the world the opportunity of dreaming again in one of the most difficult moments in recent human history.”

During the Opening Ceremony, US baseball player Eddy Alvarez became the first American baseball player to lead his delegation in an Olympic ceremony. For the first time in history, each country had two flag bearers (a male and a female) entering the Olympic Stadium.

Softball had the honour of leading off the Tokyo 2020 official sports programme on Wednesday in Fukushima, celebrating the recovery of the region after the devastating Great Earthquake in 2011. For two days and six fabulous games, the sport of softball helped put the spotlight on Fukushima and its story of resilience and recovery.

“Being in Fukushima to open the Olympic programme has been a huge honour for our sport,” said Fraccari. “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our Japanese friends and hosts for keeping the Olympic dreams of thousands of baseball and softball athletes and billions of fans around the world alive. Despite the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in, Tokyo 2020 and the IOC have set the perfect stage for our athletes and teams to fulfil their potential here.

"This is a momentous occasion for the WBSC and international baseball and softball. After thirteen long years, baseball and softball are back. Our comeback is all the more special as it takes place in Japan, one of baseball and softball’s spiritual homes. And we are not only looking forward to two great Olympic softball and baseball tournaments, but hoping this can be a more permanent fixture on the Olympic programme, starting with LA 2028."

Over the first two days of competition at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball stadium, softball delivered drama and excitement with tight games, as the best players in softball showcased their talent on the world's biggest sporting stage. 

Softball is now shifting to Yokohama to complete the five-game Opening Round in the next three days (24-26 July), with the medal games scheduled on 27 July. Baseball’s opener between Japan and Dominican Republic will be played in Fukushima on 28 July, while the remainder of the tournament is also played at Yokohama Stadium.