Tokyo 2020 Olympic Softball preview - USA and Japan lead strong field

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Softball preview - USA and Japan lead strong field
18/07/2021
The tournament will be played under a round robin system, from 21-26 July, with the top two teams in the final standings playing the Gold Medal Game on 27 July.

We’re just a few days away from living another historic moment for the game of softball. On Wednesday, in Fukushima, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic softball competition will open with the first three games of the tournament, marking the sport’s comeback to the Olympics after a 13-year hiatus. Softball will be the first Olympic sport to start competition at Tokyo 2020.

After three qualifier tournaments played between 2018 and 2019, six nations have qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico and USA will battle over seven days for the fifth softball gold medal in Olympic history.

The tournament will be played under a round robin system, from 21-26 July, with the top two teams in the final standings playing the Gold Medal Game on 27 July. Earlier the same day, the third and fourth teams qualified will play the Bronze Medal Game.

Full schedule available below:

Tokyo 2020 – Olympic Softball Schedule

World No. 1 USA, all-time leading nation in Olympic wins with an overall 32-5 record, is one of the main contenders to win gold in Tokyo. Winners of the first three consecutive Olympic gold medals, USA will try to re-take the Olympic crown after being defeated by Japan in the Beijing 2008 final. The reigning world champions count with a solid staff, led by Olympians Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott, and a team of well proved athletes in the elite competition, including 11 World Championship winners from 2018.

Qualified for the Games as host team, world No. 2 Japan is defending the gold medal it claimed in 2008, the last time softball was part of the Olympic programme. It might be the last big appearance of two legends of the sport, like Yukiko Ueno and Eri Yamada, heroes of the gold-medal winning team in Beijing. 

Softball Canada will play in Tokyo their fifth consecutive Olympic Games, this time as the third-ranked team in the world. Another experienced team, with four Olympians and 13 veterans of the bronze medal winning team from the World Championship 2018, the red and white squad is seeking their first Olympic medal, after finishing out of the podium the first four Games, collecting an overall 10-19 record.

Tokyo 2020 – Olympic Softball

Mexico is the only team making its Olympic debut. Led by ace Dallas Escobedo, the World No. 5 earned their ticket to Tokyo by sweeping the Americas Olympic Qualifier in Canada. In the last Olympic cycle, Mexico won a silver medal in the Central American and Caribbean Games Barranquilla 2018, and ended out of the podium in the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. They finished sixth place in the last World Championship in Chiba.

With 25 wins in 37 games, Australia has been one of the Olympic softball super powers winning a medal in each of the first four Games. The Aussie Spirit had an intense preparation as a team for the Tokyo 2020 Games, including a six-week training camp in Japan before heading to the Olympic Village. With 10 players over 30, Australia has a strong veteran presence in the hunt for a first-ever gold medal.

Italy, the lowest-ranked country in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, participates in the Olympic Games for the third time. The world No. 9 has won three of its 14 Olympic games: 1-0 against both Cuba and New Zealand in 2000 and 7-5 versus China in 2004. Gretta Cechetti will lead the pitching staff while slugger Erika Piancastelli, daughter of 2000 Olympian Loredana Auletta, will try to ignite the offensive to give Italy its first Olympic softball medal.

Tokyo 2020 – Olympic Softball