Is Baseball in the Olympics?

Is Baseball in the Olympics?

No, Baseball is not currently in the Olympics.

Baseball will not be a part of the 2024 summer games in Paris. However, it was a part of the 2020/2021 summer Olympics in Tokyo, making its long awaited appearance after a 12 year hiatus. 

Baseball has had an on again off again relationship with the Olympics, as you will see in the following section which discusses history. This dynamic is still very much alive and well today.

History of Baseball in the Olympics

Unofficial Status

The modern summer Olympic games got its start way back in 1896. Eight years later, America's newly emerging National Pastime premiered in the games. 

Well, unofficially at least.

Several sources cite an exhibition baseball game being played at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, though there is little documentation of the game. That particular Olympics is the very first reference of baseball being played at any summer games. 

We do know that a baseball exhibition game was played eight years later (1912 Olympics) in Stockholm, Sweden, and again 12 years after that (1924 Olympics) in Paris. 

Another 12 years after the Paris Olympics, during the famous 1936 summer games in Berlin, two American teams played an exhibition game in front of a huge crowd that was reported to be around 90,000 spectators.

Following World War II, baseball was unofficially played at a number of other summer games across the '50s and '60s. 

In 1984, though still labeled as an exhibition sport, baseball appeared in the summer games in Los Angeles in a tournament format, which the US lost to Japan. 

The US team in 1984 not only had some great looking baseball cards, but some phenomenal amateur players as well. That team featured guys like Mark McGwire and Will Clark who would go on to have very successful big league careers.

The famous (and valuable) 1985 Topps Olympics card of Mark McGwire.

Four years later after the 1984 tournament, baseball was upgraded to a demonstration sport. The US won the tournament that year by defeating its Olympic nemesis, Japan.

Medal Sport

Baseball received official status as an Olympic medal sport at the 1992 games in Barcelona, Spain.

For five consecutive summer games (1992 - 2008), baseball remained a medal sport.

In that time span, Cuba won three gold medals, the United States won one, and South Korea won another.

We were kids when the 2000 summer games in Sydney, Australia were held. We remember like it was yesterday the United States' surprising victory over Cuba to claim the gold medal in the 2000 games. 

In particular, the memory stands out of Ben Sheets' complete game shutout in the gold medal game, which was an instant classic. A team of talented American amateurs had surprised everyone by defeating Cuba's best players.

Pitcher Ben Sheets celebrating the United States' gold medal game victory during the 2000 Olympics.

Break From - and Return to - the Games

As mentioned, baseball was an Olympics medal sport in the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 games.

In 2005, however, the governing committee for the Olympics voted baseball (and fastpitch softball) out of the games beginning in the 2012 London Olympics. There were a few reasons for this, some stated and some assumed.

This meant that, sadly, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games came and went without baseball.

Then, baseball returned to the 2020 summer games in Tokyo, which were actually played in 2021 due to the pandemic-caused delay.

2020 Olympic Games Results

In the most recent Tokyo games, six countries played in the Olympics. They were South Korea, Japan, Mexico, the United States, Israel, and the Dominican Republic.

The tournament was held between July 28 and August 7, 2021 in Tokyo with no fans in attendance due to the pandemic. 

The United States team celebrating a victory over South Korea during the 2020/2021 Tokyo games [Reuters: Jorge Silva].

In the gold medal game, Japan beat the United States 2 - 0. In the bronze medal game, the Dominican Republic defeated South Korea 10 - 6.

A wide variety of former MLB players (including current free agents and minor leaguers) played in the 2020/2021 Olympic games across all six countries in the tournament. It included former Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz on Team USA, who we'd be remiss to mention since our site focuses on catchers!

A list of just a few of those to have played in the MLB and appear in the Tokyo games are shown below. 

  • Adrián González (Mexico)
  • Bubba Starling (United States)
  • Danny Espinosa (Mexico)
  • Darío Álvarez (Dominican Republic)
  • David Robertson (United States)
  • Edwin Jackson (United States)
  • Emilio Bonifácio (Dominican Republic)
  • Erick Mejia (Dominican Republic)
  • Hyun-soo Kim (South Korea)
  • Ian Kinsler (Israel)
  • Jae-gyun Hwang (South Korea)
  • José Bautista (Dominican Republic)
  • Masahiro Tanaka (Japan)
  • Melky Cabrera (Dominican Republic)
  • Raúl Valdés (Dominican Republic)
  • Ryan Lavarnway (Israel)
  • Scott Kazmir (United States)
  • Tim Federowicz (United States)
  • Todd Frazier (United States)
  • Tyler Austin (United States)


Future of Baseball in the Olympics

Although baseball will not be in the 2024 summer Olympics in Paris, many expect it to return to the 2028 games in Los Angeles. 

As mentioned above, the on again off again relationship between baseball and the International Olympic Committee continues. We personally hope to see it again in 2028.

List of Olympic Medal Winners in Baseball by Year

The countries that took home gold, silver and bronze medals during the Olympics where baseball was a medal sport are shown below.

  • 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain
    • Bronze Medal: Japan
    • Silver Medal: Chinese Taipei
    • Gold Medal: Cuba


  • 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, GA, USA
    • Bronze Medal: United States
    • Silver Medal: Japan
    • Gold Medal: Cuba


  • 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia
    • Bronze Medal: South Korea
    • Silver Medal: Cuba
    • Gold Medal: United States


  • 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece
    • Bronze Medal: Japan
    • Silver Medal: Australia
    • Gold Medal: Cuba


  • 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China
    • Bronze Medal: United States
    • Silver Medal: Cuba
    • Gold Medal: South Korea


  • 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan
    • Bronze Medal: Dominican Republic
    • Silver Medal: United States
    • Gold Medal: Japan


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Scott Perry is the owner and lead author at Catchers Home. He's a former baseball player, a current coach, a husband and a Dad. He remains as passionate about baseball today as he was as a kid.