Softball is making a comeback.
For the first time in over 13 years, softball is returning to the Olympic stage this summer.
“I'm excited that our sport is back on the global stage where I feel like it belongs," said pitcher Cat Osterman.
After coming out of retirement, Osterman is also hoping for a comeback. She's ready to return to the mound as the last time softball was in the Olympics was back in 2008.
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“It took a while for us to get back in, but excited that we are back in going to Tokyo and just looking to make the most of it," said Osterman.
When the pandemic pushed back the Tokyo Olympics to 2021, Osterman said it tested the patience of her fellow athletes. Yet, they found a way to persevere even away from the softball diamond.
“It ended up being quite a long time for us to not only be together, but to be training on our own which can be somewhat daunting and somewhat monotonous," she said. "As a team we did a great job of connecting and we had weekly Zooms where we not only checked in on what we were doing physically, but mentally and it just kept it light."
Now, the team has picked up where they left off.
“We got through it. We thrived. When January 2021 hit, we got together and hit the ground running," said Osterman.
DICK'S Sporting Goods is also sponsoring the team's tours and supporting their push for more female athletes in softball. Osterman hopes their presence on the field inspires other young women in the sport.
“Anytime our team takes the field, what we try to do is show people our love and passion for the game. Knowing we’re role models, we obviously want to be able to put the best foot forward, but at the same time allow athletes to be able to be equipped and be in our positions," said Osterman.
Osterman brought home Olympic gold in 2004 and silver in 2008. She says USA Softball is not done yet as they head to Tokyo in July.
“Obviously a gold medal is what we have our eye on, but as a team, all but two of us have never been to the Olympic Games, so it’s going to be really exciting to see the majority of this roster get to experience the Olympic Games for the first time," she said. "Also, to be in that environment and just know that when we take the field, the entire world can be watching and it’s the best of the best."