Olympic Rewind Series - Beijing 2008: Japan, USA go head to head for gold

Olympic Rewind Series - Beijing 2008: Japan, USA go head to head for gold
Today’s Olympic Rewind Series game, presented in collaboration with the Olympic Channel, features the last Olympic softball game that was played: the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Gold Medal Game.

With softball out of the London 2012 Olympics, the Beijing 2008 Gold Medal Game has carried a special value for the softball world, being the farewell match from the Olympics (until Tokyo 2020). An undefeated USA team, aiming to clinch their fourth gold medal in a row, met a Japanese squad looking for their first-ever Olympic softball gold. The game was played on 21 August at Fengtai Softball Field, in front of a 6,200-fan attendance.

The day before, the two teams met in a 9-inning semi-final. Yukiko Ueno and Monica Abbott, who are expected to lead their pitching staffs in Tokyo 2020, pitched eight scoreless innings to start the game. In the top of the ninth Caitlin Lowe gave USA a 1-0 lead with an RBI single and then Crystl Bustos, one of the best hitters in softball history known for her clutch hitting, hit a 3-run homer to secure the game. USA would win the semi-final, 4-1.

The loss forced Japan to play Australia in the Bronze Medal Game just a few hours later. The International Olympic Committee President Dr. Jacques Rogge and former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch attended the game. And it was a 12 inning nail-biter. A walk-off RBI-single by Japanese shortstop Rei Nishiyama scored Masumi Mishina for a 4-3 Japan victory. Again, Ueno pitched the complete game for her team.

The victory catapulted Japan into the Gold Medal Game with USA and gave Australia its third bronze medal in four Olympic appearances.

Japanese head coach Haruka Saito put the Gold Medal Game in Ueno’s hands again, after a 21-inning workload the day before. For USA, Mike Candrea picked left-hander Cat Osterman to open the historic match.

Tomorrow's Olympic Rewind game, presented in collaboration with the Olympic Channel, will feature a historic performance by Ueno in the Opening Round of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, against China. It represents the last softball match of the Olympic Rewind series, with Olympic baseball replays taking centre stage from Wednesday 29 July.



  • 29/7 Barcelona 1992 - Opening Round: USA v Spain
  • 30/7 Barcelona 1992 - Gold Medal Game: Cuba v Chinese Taipei
  • 31/7 Atlanta 1996 - Opening Round: Italy v Korea
  • 01/8 Atlanta 1996 - Gold Medal Game: Cuba v Japan
  • 02/8 Sydney 2000 - Opening Round: Netherlands v Cuba
  • 03/8 Sydney 2000 - Gold Medal Game: Cuba v USA
  • 04/8 Athens 2004 - Semi Final: Australia v Japan