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Candrea, Lowe mourn loss of Olympic softball


By James Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 14, 2005
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No softball player wants to lose a championship game on a passed ball, but the sport has lost its spot in the 2012 Summer Olympics by its suffrage equivalent - a single vote.

"I was devastated, obviously. I was very disappointed," said Arizona softball head coach Mike Candrea, who coaches Team USA and is awaiting the official results of the team's new roster. "There is not much more we can do right now but strategize and try to fight to get softball back into the games."

In July, results from a secret ballot given to 105 members of the International Olympic Committee revealed that softball and baseball were voted out of the 2012 games in London.

Softball needed only a simple majority to stay on the 26-sport roster, but 52 IOC members voted both for and against its inclusion, with an unidentified delegate abstaining.

Members of Team USA, which won its third consecutive gold medal in Athens, Greece, in August 2004, found out that softball was voted out right before they convened in 2005.

"The whole team was very disappointed," said Arizona junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe, a candidate for the 2012 team. "It was right before the national team got together, and we just felt so bad for the sport, so bad for the young players (for whom) it's their dream to get to that point.

"It doesn't just affect us as National team members," said Lowe, who played for the National team this summer. "It affects softball as a whole."

Softball officials and the United States Olympic Committee are working to try and get the sport back in the games. A softball delegation will meet with IOC President Jacques Rogge on Oct. 4 in Switzerland.

The next IOC general assembly will take place in February, just before the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Softball proponents must wait until 2009 to lobby for its reinstatement at the 2016 games.

"I'm hoping right now, with (former USOC president) Peter Ueberroth strategizing and putting everything in order, that they will try and present the case," Candrea said. "Hopefully it will come up for a re-vote or for sure get us back in the games for 2012."

Lowe said she "definitely" is thinking positively that softball will be voted back into the games because the margin was so close.

"I think we are very optimistic," she said. "We really need to rally with the other countries and make a really big statement that softball is growing. We really don't need to give up on it at this point."

There has been speculation that IOC members from other countries confused softball with baseball, lumping it in with the less internationally popular sport of the two.

There is also a school of thought that softball got the axe because the United States has dominated the event, going undefeated in 2004.

"I think primarily it was a political vote that didn't go our way," Candrea said.

Softball fans have gotten into the act, too. Some have started an online petition addressed to the IOC to reconsider its decision.

As of yesterday afternoon, the petition had 51,237 signatures. It can be found at www.petitiononline.com/olysoftb/petition-sign.html.



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