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Harper thrilled over baseball’s Olympic return

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 16: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies enters the dugout following a 5-3 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game One of the Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper is dreaming of an Olympic gold medal after confirmation on Monday that baseball will be included at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Harper, one of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars who is currently battling for a place in the World Series, said the return of the sport to the Olympic stage was “really cool.”

The Phillies first baseman — who turned 31 on Monday — said he had learned about the news of the Olympic decision from his wife.

“My wife texted me ‘Happy Birthday’ with that,” Harper said ahead of the Phillies’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Harper, a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, said he hoped his age would not prevent him from playing in 2028.

“I will be old at that point, so I don’t know if they’re going to want me to be on the team, but it’s always a dream,” Harper said.

“I think it’s everybody’s dream to be in the Olympics. Especially it coming here, being able to do that.”

“I would hope that Major League Baseball, you talk about growing the game, and that’s the way you grow it at the highest peak.”

“You let guys that are playing in the league take that break just like in the (National Hockey League) and see what happens.”

“I mean, I think it would be really cool. I think it would be a lot of fun. I don’t know if they’ll ever go for it, but I would love to put USA on my chest and represent it at the highest level.”

Baseball was readmitted at an International Olympic Committee meeting in Mumbai earlier Monday, joining cricket, softball, flag football, squash and lacrosse as new sports for the 2028 Olympics.

Baseball has a long history as an Olympic sport, first played unofficially at the 1904 St. Louis games before making its bow as a demonstration sport at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.

It returned as an official Olympic sport in Barcelona in 1992 before being dropped after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


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