Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: August 2, 1996
Format: Round-robin tournament followed by semi-finals and final.
Cuba remained the heavy favorite, but they had lost a bit of an edge since 1992, and their team was crumbling internally as well. Only 10 days before the start of the 1996 Olympics, one of their star pitchers from the 1992 team, Roland Arroyo, defected. Another top pitcher, JosÃ© Contreras, would later defect to the United States, and became one of the first Cubans in many years to play in the Major Leagues, beginning his career in 2003 with the New York Yankees. But Cuba still had Omar Linares and Orestes KindelÃ¡n, and their power line-up made up for their pitching weakness. They again won every game, although Japan took them to extra innings in pool play. In the final, Cuba repeated their victory over Japan, 13-9. During the tournament, Linares and KindelÃ¡n combined for 17 home runs.