Canadian softball star Erika Polidori looking forward to Tokyo 2020 Olympic competition

Canadian softball star Erika Polidori looking forward to Tokyo 2020 Olympic competition
Polidori, a longtime member of the Canadian Women’s National Softball Team, is among 20 of the nation's best players vying for a spot on the 15-player Tokyo 2020 Olympic roster.

Erika Polidori is a veteran of the Softball Canada's Women’s National Team. She made her debut on the national team in 2013 and competed in her first WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship a year later. She also helped Canada earn bronze at the 2016 and 2018 WBSC Softball World Championships.

In 2015, Polidori led Canada with a batting average of .455 at the Pan American Games in Toronto, contributing to the team’s gold medal win over the United States. Four years later, she added a silver medal at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. 

Now, Polidori is one of 20 athletes on Softball Canada’s preliminary Tokyo 2020 Olympic roster, battling for 1 of 15 spots on the team.

“It really was upsetting and kind of devastating when the Olympics were postponed,” Polidori told the Brantford Expositor. “But, honestly, I started looking at it as I have an extra year and what are the little tweaks I want to make and how can I take advantage of this year? Being able to use that mindset and be as productive as I can for the next few months and come out of this as an even better softball player, that’s kind of where my focus is right now.”

The 28-year-old outfielder, who represented Canada at the 2011 WBSC Junior Women’s Softball World Championship in Cape Town, South Africa, finishing in fifth place, was training with the Canadian National Team when the pandemic put a halt to sporting activity around the world.

“We’ve had to be flexible with plans and expectations,” said Polidori. “We’ve had plan after plan change or fall through.

“I think the most important thing was that we had a lot of support from our coaching staff. Beyond Softball Canada, the COC (Canadian Olympic Committee) has made sure that it’s been safety first with our own physical safety and mental well-being, making sure we were in the right headspace, day-to-day or week-to-week.”

Polidori, who currently serves as WBSC Women’s Softball Athlete Representative and is involved in several projects within the world governing body, spent the summer at home for the first time in years. “Being at home during the summer was very strange but it was also a nice change,” she said.

The Olympic softball event will commence on Wednesday, 21 July 2021, at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium. That day, Canada will open against Mexico at 3 p.m. local time, starting the nation’s fifth Olympic campaign and aiming to win their first-ever medal.

“At this point, my eyes are forward with the Olympics in mind," Polidori said. "I’m not worrying too much about the external things I can’t control. I’m still very much aware that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. And a lot of our issues we haven’t figured them out yet or solved them. What the next few months or the next few weeks will look like, is really still unknown.”