Keilani Ricketts hoped to be celebrating softball's Olympic return from the country where its next Olympics would be played.
Instead, the two-time National Player of the Year at Oklahoma was discouraged when the International Olympic Committee voted to reinstate wrestling for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Ricketts, playing professionally in Japan with Shokki Softball, tweeted her disappointment.
“Congrats to wrestling but my heart hurts for the sport I love. #annoying,” Ricketts posted.
Lauren Chamberlain, Ricketts' teammate at OU and a member of Team USA at this summer's World Cup in Oklahoma City, also expressed disappointment but said the sport would thrive regardless.
“Heartbroken about the decision … Not for myself but the little girls that will come after me. But our sport has grown and will keep growing,” Chamberlain posted.
Oklahoma City, home of the World Cup and the Women's College World Series, was featured in the presentation by the World Baseball Softball Confederation during several videos showing international softball and baseball competitions.
Don Porter, the president of the International Softball Federation and the co-president of the WSBC, wrapped up Sunday's presentation.
Porter keeps a box of letters on his desk — 511 of them — from girls around the world. The letters arrived shortly after softball and baseball were removed from the Olympics in 2005.
“I keep those letters there because they touch my heart and constantly remind me of my mission to give every little girl or boy in the world a chance to play our game through your games,” Porter told the IOC.”
Porter choked up as he continued.
“I hope today that you will find a place for those little girls in the Olympics and help restore their dreams,” Porter said.
For now, those dreams will have to wait.
“We're obviously disappointed to not be selected for the Olympic programme for 2020,” Amateur Softball Association and USA Softball executive director Ron Radigonda said in a statement. “We feel that our sport resonates globally and deserves to be in the Olympic Games. Softball provides more women around the world an opportunity to participate in sport and those women deserve the right to an Olympic dream.”