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Softball, Women

Date12 – 21 August 2008
LocationFengtai Tiyu Zhongxin Leiquichang, Beijing
Participants120 from 8 countries
FormatRound-robin tournament, with the top four teams progressing to classification round.

Softball had been on the Olympic Program since 1996 and had been dominated by the United States’ teams. Since 1970 the US had won every World Championship except in 1982, when New Zealand triumphed, and they had been undefeated in international tournaments since that defeat. At the Olympics, the US had won all three of the previous gold medals. In 1996 and 2004 they had been unchallenged, winning every game, and in 2004, it had reached almost laughable proportions, winning nine games by a total score of 51-1. In 2000, they had struggled somewhat, losing three games in pool play, but had still recovered to win the gold medal.

In 2005, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) began an investigation into the sports on the Olympic Program. Several new sports, including golf, rugby sevens, and karate, were attempting to get onto the Olympic Program and the IOC wanted to keep the program stable in terms of number of sports. If it was going to add any new sports, some older sports would have to be removed from the Olympics. Baseball was felt to be at risk to be removed, because of doping problems in the American professional leagues, because the top American professionals from Major League Baseball did not play in the Olympics, the relatively high cost of constructing a baseball stadium that would not be used in many countries, the relatively few number of nations that competed internationally at a high level, and since – all criteria the IOC considered important. Softball was felt to be safe – the top players all over the world competed, there had been no doping scandals, Olympic softball was the biggest title in the sport, and further, as a female-only sport, it helped maintain gender balance in the program. But when the IOC met to reconsider the Olympic Program, an unusual thing happened. No sports were added to the Olympic Program but two were to be removed – baseball and softball. In the end it was felt that softball was lumped in with baseball, and cast out with that sport because of the problems with baseball. The only problem that softball had was that it was dominated by one nation, and that nation happened to be the United States, which had little support from the IOC at that time. After multiple appeals, it was finally decided in August 2009 at an IOC Executive Board meeting that softball (and baseball) were off the Olympic Program after the 2008 Olympics.

So Beijing was to be the final Olympic softball tournament. And it started out as they all had – with the US team winning easily. In round-robin play, the USA played seven games, and won seven games, and the margin was even more than in Athina – they won by a combined score of 53-1. In the semi-finals the United States defeated Japan, 4-1, after beating them 7-0 in pool play. Japan then advanced to the grand final against the US by defeating Australia, 4-3 in 12 innings. And in the grand final, something unusual happened – Japan won the gold medal by defeating the US 3-1. The Japanese were exultant while the American players looked lost – they had no conception of how to react to losing.

Naho Emoto
Motoko Fujimoto
Megu Hirose
Emi Inui
Sachiko Ito
Ayumi Karino
Satoko Mabuchi
Yukiyo Mine
Masumi Mishina
Rei Nishiyama
Hiroko Sakai
Rie Sato
Mika Someya
Yukiko Ueno
Eri Yamada
CoachHaruka Saito
2United StatesUSASilver
Monica Abbott
Laura Berg
Crystl Bustos
Andrea Duran
Jennie Finch
Tairia Flowers
Vicky Galindo
Lovie Jung
Kelly Kretschman
Lauren Lappin
Caitlin Lowe
Jessica Mendoza
Stacey Nuveman
Cat Osterman
Natasha Watley
CoachMike Candrea
Jodie Bowering
Kylie Cronk
Kelly Hardie
Tanya Harding
Sandy Allen-Lewis
Simmone Morrow
Tracey Mosley
Stacey Porter
Melanie Roche
Justine Smethurst
Danielle Stewart
Natalie Titcume
Natalie Ward
Belinda Wright
Kerry Wyborn
CoachFabian Barlow
Lauren Bay-Regula
Alison Bradley
Erin Cumpstone
Sheena Lawrick
Danielle Lawrie
Caitlin Lever
Robin Mackin
Noémie Marin
Melanie Matthews
Erin McLean
Dione Meier
Kaleigh Rafter
Jennifer Salling
Megan Timpf
Jennifer Yee
CoachLori Sippel
5Chinese TaipeiTPE
Chen Miao-Yi
Chiang Hui-Chuan
Chueh Ming-Hui
Hsu Hsiu-Ling
Huang Hui-Wen
Lai Meng-Ting
Lai Sheng-Jung
Li Chiu-Ching
Lin Su-Hua
Lo Hsiao-Ting
Lu Hsueh-Mei
Pan Tzu-Hui
Tung Yun-Chi
Wen Li-Hsiu
Wu Chia-Yen
CoachChang Chia-Hsing
6People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Guo Jia
Lei Donghui
Li Chunxia
Li Qi
Lu Wei
Pan Xia
Sun Li
Tan Ying
Wu Di
Xin Minhong
Yu Huili
Yu Yanhong
Zhang Ai
Zhang Lifang
Zhou Yi
CoachWang Lihong
Yuruby Alicart
Mariangee Bogado
Marianella Castellanos
Zuleyma Cirimele
Denisse Fuenmayor
Johana Gómez
Bheiglys Mujica
Yusmary Pérez
Jineth Pimentel
Geraldine Puertas
Maribel Riera
Mayles Rodríguez
Rubilena Rojas
Yaciey Sojo
María Soto
CoachDelio López
Judith van Kampen
Noémi Boekel
Daisy de Peinder
Kristi de Vries
Marloes Fellinger
Sandra Gouverneur
Kim Kluijskens
Saskia Kosterink
Jolanda Kroesen
Marjan Smit
Rebecca Soumeru
Nathalie Timmermans
Petra van Heijst
Ellen Venker
Britt Vonk
CoachLiz Kelly


Date12 – 18 August 2008
FormatRound-robin pool, with the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals.
1United StatesUSA001453-1
5Chinese TaipeiTPE05410-23
6People's Republic of ChinaCHN05419-21
Game #112 Aug 9:30CanadaCAN6 – 1Chinese TaipeiTPE
Game #212 Aug 12:00United StatesUSA11 – 0VenezuelaVEN5-inning mercy rule
Game #312 Aug 17:00People's Republic of ChinaCHN10 – 2NetherlandsNED
Game #412 Aug 19:30JapanJPN4 – 3AustraliaAUS
Game #513 Aug 9:30People's Republic of ChinaCHN7 – 1VenezuelaVEN
Game #613 Aug 12:00United StatesUSA3 – 0AustraliaAUS
Game #713 Aug 17:00JapanJPN2 – 1Chinese TaipeiTPE
Game #813 Aug 19:30CanadaCAN9 – 2NetherlandsNED6-inning mercy rule
Game #914 Aug 9:30AustraliaAUS3 – 1People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Game #1015 Aug 14:45United StatesUSA8 – 1CanadaCAN
Game #1114 Aug 18:15JapanJPN3 – 0NetherlandsNED
Game #1214 Aug 20:30Chinese TaipeiTPE3 – 0VenezuelaVEN
Game #1315 Aug 9:30CanadaCAN1 – 0People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Game #1415 Aug 12:00United StatesUSA7 – 0JapanJPN5-inning mercy rule
Game #1515 Aug 17:00AustraliaAUS3 – 1Chinese TaipeiTPE
Game #1615 Aug 19:30VenezuelaVEN8 – 0NetherlandsNED5-inning mercy rule
Game #1716 Aug 9:30JapanJPN3 – 0People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Game #1816 Aug 12:00United StatesUSA7 – 0Chinese TaipeiTPE5-inning mercy rule
Game #1916 Aug 17:00AustraliaAUS8 – 0NetherlandsNED
Game #2016 Aug 19:30VenezuelaVEN2 – 0CanadaCAN
Game #2117 Aug 9:30Chinese TaipeiTPE2 – 1People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Game #2217 Aug 12:00JapanJPN5 – 2VenezuelaVEN
Game #2317 Aug 17:00AustraliaAUS4 – 0CanadaCAN
Game #2417 Aug 19:30United StatesUSA8 – 0NetherlandsNED5-inning mercy rule
Game #2518 Aug 9:30NetherlandsNED4 – 2Chinese TaipeiTPE
Game #2618 Aug 12:00United StatesUSA9 – 0People's Republic of ChinaCHN5-inning mercy rule
Game #2718 Aug 17:00JapanJPN6 – 0CanadaCAN
Game #2818 Aug 19:30AustraliaAUS9 – 2VenezuelaVEN5-inning mercy rule


Date20 August 2008
FormatWinner of the match between the first and second place of the round-robin phase advanced to the Grand Final, the loser advanced to the Final against the winner of the other semi-final.
Game #120 Aug 9:30United StatesUSA4 – 1JapanJPN9-innings
Game #220 Aug 12:00AustraliaAUS5 – 3CanadaCAN

Final Round

Date20 – 21 August 2008
FormatWinner of the Final advanced to the Grand Final.
Grand Final21 Aug 18:30JapanJPN3 – 1United StatesUSA
Final20 Aug 17:00JapanJPN4 – 3AustraliaAUS12-innings