We continue our list of the Top 15 Softball Stories of 2019, which will run through tomorrow, December 31st, when we’ll present our No. 1 story of the year.
Here are the previous stories (clink on link to read):
- #15… Team USA Dominates Summer Competition… with One Exception
- #14… USA Softball’s 2020 Stand Beside Her Tour… Taking the Brand Nationwide
- #13… Sam Show’s Bat Flips - & Clutch Performances - Light Up the 2019 Season
- #12… National High School Player of the Year Sydney Supple Spearheads Hometown Field of Dreams
- #11… Busy Year for the NPF Including USSSA Pride Out & CA Commotion In
- #10… PGF Nationals Celebrates 10 Years with Barnburner Finishes
- #9… Coaches Accused of Abuse by Players at Power 5 Colleges
- #8… Mark Campbell’s Death Stuns Club & High School Softball World
- #7… September 1 Becomes a Special Day in Recruiting (Again)
- #6… 2020 Tokyo Olympic Field of Six Finalized
- #5... Geri Ann Glasco Dies in Car Accident… Softball Community Mourns, Rallies Behind Glasco Family
- #4... UCLA Back on Top with WCWS Title, Rachel Garcia Repeats as National Player of the Year
- #3... Softball Out at 2024 Paris Olympics
We’ve surveyed the softball community and talked internally as well to come up with what were the most impactful and relevant stories of the year pertaining to the world of fastpitch softball.
Where applicable, we are providing links to the original articles and/or references when the story first happened.
Today’s story… #2… USA Olympic Team Selected for 2020 Tokyo Games. Everyone has been eagerly anticipating the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan and the reality of the games being just around the corner was made real when USA Softball announced the team members in October. Soon after, the preparatory nationwide tour named “Stand Beside Her,” was announced and the schedule leading up to the July kickoff of the Games looks locked and loaded!
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A quick history lesson:
The U.S. was the dominant softball force in the first several Olympic Games when softball was played, winning Gold Medals in 1996 (Atlanta, USA), 2000 (Sydney, Australia), 2004 (Athens, Greece) and then taking Silver in 2008 (Beijing, China).
Those games 12-years-ago, however, would be the last Summer Games to have softball and baseball included as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted in July 2005 to drop the two stick-and-ball sports from the 2012 Games and later in August 2009 was voted to keep the sports out of the 2016 Games as well.
However, in August 2016, the two sports were voted in again and excited increased from then until this year when good news/bad news hit the sport.
In February 2019, it was announced that 2024 Paris Olympics would not include softball, a real blow to the growth of the sport as millions of young fastpitch players have dreamed of one day playing on the international Olympic stage.
That made this year’s selection of the six teams included in the 2020 Games even more significant as well as who would represent Team USA.
The player invitees were announced back in 2018 and this year saw the Red, White and Blue squad narrowed down and finalized with 15 athletes making the team along with three alternates. Soon after, the impressive nationwide tour called Stand Beside Her, with nearly 30 venues in 17 states, was locked in to help Team USA ramp up from early February through late June to help prepare for games starting July 22, 2020.
In our opinion, the USA team has impressive strengths across the board: pitching, defense, speed, table-setters to get on base, power hitters to knock them and, with Monica Abbott leading the way, has a great chance to take back the Gold Medals that host nation Japan won a dozen years ago in Beijing.
Here’s a look over the last year at how the American team was put together…
*** Scroll down to read the Extra Inning Softball articles from 2019 that recaps the finalization of the US Team that will compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games!