Once again, baseball and softball are Olympic sports. The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that both baseball and softball have been approved for the 2020 games in Tokyo. Three other sports have been added as well.

Neither baseball nor softball were played in the 2012 Olympics in London, nor will they be played in the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. IOC president Thomas Bach announced baseball and softball were approved for 2020 unanimously.

Back in 2005 both baseball and softball were voted out of the Olympics starting in 2012. They were replaced by golf and rugby sevens in 2016. The International Baseball Federation and International Softball Federation have been working to bring their sports back to the Olympics for years.

Baseball was officially added to the Olympics in 1992. Prior to that it had been a demonstration sport. Here are the winners:

Year (Venue)
Gold Silver Bronze
1992 (Barcelona)
Cuba Chinese Taipei
1996 (Atlanta)
Cuba Japan United States
2000 (Sydney)
United States
Cuba South Korea
2004 (Athens)
Cuba Australia Japan
2008 (Beijing)
South Korea
Cuba United States

The 2020 Olympics are set to take place from July 24 through August 9, which is right smack in the middle of the MLB season. The IOC understandably wants the best players involved, but MLB and the 30 teams don't love the idea of halting the season so their players can play overseas. The NHL has exactly done that in the past, for what it's worth.

In 2008 only players not on active 25-man rosters as of late June were allowed to play in the Olympics. Top minor league prospects like Jake Arrieta, Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Dexter Fowler were on Team USA in 2008. So was Stephen Strasburg, who was still a student at San Diego State at the time.

The IOC and MLB have to figure out which players will be allowed to participate at some point prior to the 2020 Olympic games. Stopping the season for several weeks seems unlikely, but I suppose it's not impossible.

Baseball and softball will return to the Olympics in 2020. USATSI