IOC President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that the possibility "still exists for the inclusion of baseball and softball" for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to Dave Hueston of KYODO. Making his first official visit to the Japanese capital after being elected president of the IOC, Bach said, “We will discuss the issue of the composition of the program. First about the procedure -- how to do it -- and also about the program as such: the content.” Although he "did not state definitively that baseball and softball are on the way back, Bach said the topic is open for debate." Bach: "You have many stakeholders and interested parties. I have initiated discussion about this" (KYODO, 11/20). The AP's Jim Armstrong reported Tokyo's winning bid for the 2020 Olympics "has prompted calls in Japan for baseball and softball to be included when the Japanese capital hosts the games." While the Olympic Charter states that a sport's inclusion in the program "must be decided not later than the session electing the host city, Bach stressed the need to be flexible." Bach: ''I am open for more flexibility in the Olympic program. But first we have to see what the rest of my colleagues in the IOC think" (AP, 11/20).
PREPARATIONS ON SCHEDULE: REUTERS' Elaine Lies reported Bach "praised 2020 preparations" and said that he was "unfazed by controversy" about the cost and design of the main Olympic stadium, which is now set to be scaled back from original plans. The spaceship-like stadium was designed by London architect Zaha Hadid, who also designed the aquatics center for the 2012 London Olympics, to "replace the ageing stadium built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics." Officials have said that costs "will be cut by making the stadium building more compact," reducing the space for things such as exhibition rooms, and that plans for 80,000 seats -- up from 54,000 in the current stadium -- "will not change." Bach said, "What I have heard about the Olympic stadium is that there were some plans about adjustments in the building. But it will not affect at all the Olympic stadium as a sports facility" (REUTERS, 11/20).