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  • USA Softball's Osterman, McCleney, Mulipola discuss upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games


    USA Softball Olympic Team members Cat Osterman, Haylie McCleney and Dejah Mulipola gave their impressions about their journey to the next year's Olympic Games.

    The historic return of Olympic softball will take place at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021. The Olympic softball event will include world No. 1 USA, No. 2 Japan, No. 3 Canada, No. 5 Mexico, No. 8 Australia and No. 10 Italy.

    Team USA players Cat Osterman, Haylie McCleney and Dejah Mulipola recently talked about the upcoming Games in an interview with the Olympic Channel.

    Osterman was the USA starter in the Gold Medal Game at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was charged with the loss, as Team USA settled with a silver medal. Two years later, she retired from international competition after winning the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2010 in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2019, she came out of retirement to tryout for the US Olympic Team.

    "I did not come out of retirement just to say I played in a third Olympics," said Osterman. She says she's playing "to help another generation win a gold medal...that's the ultimate goal...there's a large generation of softball players who didn't get to compete in the Olympics."

    What about beating Japan in Japan and avenging the 2008 loss? "Sure, I would love to beat Japan and just have the feeling of... just a little bit but that [isn't] the primary focus."

    USA will have an experienced pitching staff in Tokyo, led by Monica Abbott and Osterman, the two US pitchers in the aforementioned Beijing 2008 final game -- Abbott came into relieve Osterman. McCleney and Mulipola, an outfielder and a catcher in their twenties who will make their Olympic debut in Tokyo, acknowledge the experience both Abbott and Osterman bring to the team.

    "Monica, just like Cat, has a ton of experience when it comes to international ball, but even more so with playing in Japan, knowing their culture, how they approach the game, she obviously gets to play against almost every single one of the Japanese national team members every year, so that softball IQ that Monica has is extremely valuable," says McCleney, the electric 25-year-old center fielder. "We ask Monica all the same things that we ask Cat...because...this is the first time we've ever played in the Olympics."

    "We are just as good as any other team out there,” argues Mulipola, who was only 10 when Japan stunned USA for the gold medal in Beijing. “But the reassurance that [Abbott and Osterman] have 'been there and done that', and that we can look to them in those moments of struggle is kind of the biggest thing."

    USA was the first qualified nation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games softball event, earning their berth by winning the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship in 2018, almost two years ago. However, with the postponement of the Olympics to 2021, the wait will be a bit longer for the USA Softball Olympic Team.

    "I'm counting down the days," said McCleney, "I don't know how many days until it's going to happen now, but I'm counting down the days. I can guarantee you that I'll be turned up and ready to go whenever it is we play. If they have us play in a parking lot, I'll play in a parking lot."

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