Softball

Facts

Discipline of Baseball/Softball
Participants 447
NOCs 14
Competitions held 5 (Venues)
Distinct events 1
IF World Baseball Softball Confederation, International Softball Federation

Description

Softball began in the 1890s as a variant of baseball, usually played by women. It was originally called mushball, kittenball, or indoor baseball, but acquired the name softball by the 1920s. In the United States, the sport became organized with the formation of the Amateur Softball Association in 1933. Several variants of the sport exist in the United States, including fast-pitch, modified fast-pitch, and slow-pitch.

The international organization was the International Softball Federation (ISF), which was formed in 1952, and which merged with the International Baseball Federation (IBF) to become the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) on 14 April 2013, in Tokyo. As of 2022, the WBSC had 193 National Federations and 14 Associate Members.

Softball (fast-pitch) made its début as a full-medal sport for women at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It was one of the few sports on the Olympic Program open only to women, also including artistic swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.

In 2009, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to remove softball, alongside baseball, from the Olympic Program, although it noted the sport could re-apply for 2016. The sport worked hard to be added back to the Olympic Games, and on 3 August 2016, at the IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, it was voted back on the Olympic Program for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, along with baseball.

The United States leads the medal table, with five medals and three golds. There are four players with three gold medals (all United States), and four players with a total of four medals (three Australians), but only American Laura Berg is on both lists.

All-time medal table

Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 3 2 0 5
Japan JPN 2 1 1 4
Australia AUS 0 1 3 4
People's Republic of China CHN 0 1 0 1
Canada CAN 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Laura Berg USA 3 1 0 4
Lisa Fernandez USA 3 0 0 3
Lori Harrigan USA 3 0 0 3
Leah O'Brien-Amico USA 3 0 0 3
Crystl Bustos USA 2 1 0 3
Stacey Nuveman USA 2 1 0 3
Yukiko Ueno JPN 2 0 1 3
Eri Yamada JPN 2 0 1 3
Sheila Cornell-Douty USA 2 0 0 2
Dot Richardson USA 2 0 0 2
Michele Smith USA 2 0 0 2
Christa Williams USA 2 0 0 2
Yukiyo Mine JPN 2 0 0 2

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Softball Women 5