Baseball events have been confirmed to return to the Summer Olympics after seven years. While South Korea is also set to try to win its first medal in 20 years, star players in the Major League Baseball (MLB) have also announced their participation.
Yahoo Sports of the U.S. said on the 17th (Korea Standard Time), “While baseball sports are scheduled to be revived at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, Philadelphia Phillies superstar Bryce Harper (31) is also dreaming of becoming a member of the U.S. national team.”
Earlier, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held its 141st general meeting in Mumbai, India on the 16th and officially announced that “five events, including baseball and softball, cricket, flag football, lacrosse, and squash, were approved as official events at the 2028 LA Olympics.”
According to the IOC website, IOC President Thomas Bach said, “We will show the world the sports culture of the United States by adopting these five events as official events. On the contrary, it will bring global sports to the United States, he said. “These events will make the LA Olympics even more special.”
Earlier, the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee proposed these five events as official events to be temporarily added to the Olympics, and the IOC Executive Committee approved them. As a final step, it was revived as an official event at the IOC General Assembly with overwhelming support of 88 out of 90 votes. 스포츠토토
Baseball, which began as an exhibition event at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Games, has been adopted as an official event since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Since then, baseball games have been held steadily until the 2008 Beijing Games, but baseball was excluded from the official event at the 2012 London Olympics, where the tournament was held in Europe, and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where the tournament was held in South America.
Baseball was then revived as an official event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because the host country, Japan, had a close relationship with baseball. However, baseball was excluded from the official event at the 2024 Paris Olympics in Europe next year.
Baseball has become an official sport again at the Los Angeles Olympics thanks to the efforts of the Major League Secretariat and the Players’ Union (MLBPA). Evan Drelich of the sports media The Athletic said on his SNS, “The MLB Secretariat and MLBPA sent a joint letter in July to revive Olympic baseball.” However, it has yet to be decided whether major leaguers will participate in the Olympics during the season.
In this situation, Harper first expressed his intention to play. According to the media, Harper mentioned the LA Olympics ahead of the first game of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) against the Arizona Diamondbacks on the 17th. He said, “My wife told me about it with a birthday message, saying, ‘One of your birthday wishes was for baseball to come back to the Olympics.’
Harper said, “I may want to join because I’m old (36 years old) by 2028, but it’s always been a dream to go to the Olympics, especially because it’s an Olympics held in the United States.”
In the meantime, Harper insisted that the season should be suspended and participated in the Olympics like the National Hockey League (NHL), one of the four major professional sports in North America. According to the media, as Harper said, the NHL allowed players to be elected during the Olympics from the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics to the 2014 Sochi Games. However, there have been no NHL players since the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
Harper is a star player representing Major League Baseball. He made his major league debut in 2012 when he was 20 years old and played in 1,508 games so far this season, with a batting average of 0.281 306 home runs, 889 RBIs, 133 steals, and an OPS of 0.912. In 2015, when he was in Washington, he topped the league with 42 home runs and won his first career MVP.
Amid this performance, Harper signed a mega-contract of $330 million (about 447.4 billion won) in 2013 and moved to Philadelphia in 2018. He became the NL MVP once again in 2021 with 35 home runs and a whopping 1.044 OPS. He has also been selected seven times as an All-Star, and is a player who combines skills and showmanship.
However, he had no connection with the national team. He did not participate in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2013 and 2017 after joining the professional league, but strongly expressed his intention to attend the 2023 tournament. However, he failed to play again this time due to Tommy John surgery on the right elbow (Tommy John surgery). Harper said, “I want to represent the United States with the American flag on my chest,” adding, “The WBC is also a great competition, but not as much as the Olympics.”
If major leaguers including Harper participate, there is a high possibility that a “dream team” such as Olympic basketball will be formed. If so, it will be a difficult competition for South Korea, which is aiming for the first Olympic medal in 20 years since the 2008 Beijing Games gold medal.