by: Noemi Chaves
After the 2008 Summer Olympics games in Beijing, China; softball was discontinued from the 2012 London Games, but as of August 3, 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted softball back in for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Before being discontinued, softball had been in the games four times, participating in Columbus, Georgia; Sydney, Australia; Athens, Greece; and Beijing, China. An official reason for the discontinuation of softball from the Olympics has never been released, however, popular opinion claims the drop occurred due to international sports officials feeling as though softball was too "American" for the world sports stage.
A secret ballot vote in a 2005 Singapore meeting of IOC officials resulted in the decision to officially remove softball from the Olympics for the 2012 Games, marking the first time a sport had been discontinued in 69 years since the removal of polo in 1936.
“The return of softball to the Olympics in 2020 is monumental for the game of fastpitch,” states Amanda Kamekona, UCLA Alumni and current Scrapyard Dawgs player. “Not only does it allow for the USA to compete for the most prestigious honor of winning the gold and getting to claim to be the best in the world, but it allows for the future of our game, young female athletes, to know that their dream of playing one of the best games in the world while wearing USA across their chest is once again a reality.” Kamekona continued.
USA always brings their A-game to the table when it comes to the Olympics, setting over 18 records in Athens, Greece, and setting records such as most hits, highest team batting average, highest slugging percentage, and even individual records.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist, Crystl Bustos, emphasized how important 2020 is to the softball world: “I think it would give the young softball players around the world something to work towards, and it would push these young players to strive to represent their country.”
“Work hard on your skills, master your craft. It is the ones who pay attention to the details, the little things that will represent our country. The ones who work outside the box” is Bustos’ advice to players striving to play for the Olympics.
For Kamekona, her advice is to “Chase your dreams, no matter how big. This game will challenge you; these are the moments you have to push aside the pain, wipe away the tears, and find a way to push through. I promise the game will reward you with so much love and beauty and will prepare you to be successful outside the white lines”.
At the 2020 Olympics, Team U.S.A. will compete against 13 other nations: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Greece, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
2020 Olympics, we are going for the gold.