Italy vs. USA | Tokyo Olympics 2020: Softball Highlights | NBC Sports

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NBC Sports 21 July, 2021 - 01:59am 17 views

Is USA Softball on TV?

Most Team USA softball games will be broadcast on NBC Sports. You will also be able to stream games live on the NBC Sports app and Peacock. 11 p.m. 8 p.m. Sporting NewsUSA softball schedule: How to watch every 2021 Olympic team game from Tokyo

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The Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics doesn’t arrive until Friday, but the first competitions get underway Tuesday night (in our time zone).

First up is softball, which is back in the Olympics for the first time since 2008, and where Team USA is considered a favorite to regain the gold medal.

The sport made its Olympic debut back in 1996 and 12 years later, Team USA -- the three-time champions -- was dethroned by Japan.

California is well represented on the U.S. women's softball team, which features 10 athletes with ties to the Golden State. Three of the athletes are from KCRA 3's coverage area.

Ali Aguilar plays infield for the U.S. She was born in Roseville and attended Cara Roble High School in Orangevale. She went on to play softball for the University of Washington and in the Japan Professional Softball League. She's a 2016 and 2018 WBSC Women's World Championship gold medalist.

Ally Carda is a pitcher who also plays infield positions. Her hometown is Elk Grove and she later played softball for UCLA. She's a 2016 WBSC Women's World Championship gold medalist.

Bubba Nickles is a utility player for Team USA. She grew up in Merced and went on to play for UCLA.

The team also features returning Olympians Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott.

"It was full circle,” Osterman told our Dying to Ask podcast about coming out of retirement. “I went from the youngest to the oldest (on the team) now but, yeah, there was a 13-year gap between the last Olympics and this one. It's been a sport that I think has been missing the Olympics. I know, specifically I have missed being in the Olympics."

Here’s how to watch Olympic softball Tuesday night.

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Opinion: In tribute to perseverance, US softball team wins Olympic opener behind Cat Osterman

USA TODAY 21 July, 2021 - 01:42am

Cat Osterman, who came out of retirement for another shot at the Olympics, threw a one-hitter, striking out nine against Italy.

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Team USA softball players have bittersweet feelings about the sport returning to the Olympics in Tokyo, but being left out of the Paris Games in 2024. USA TODAY

TOKYO — It has been nearly 13 years since the United States played a softball game at the Olympics, 13 years since a devastating loss to Japan denied the Americans their fourth consecutive gold medal in a sport they have long dominated.

Since that sad day at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, there has been nothing but, well, nothing, as softball was voted out of the Olympics in a colossal mistake by the supremely out of touch International Olympic Committee and the Games went on without it.

But when Tokyo won the 2020 Olympics, it brought softball right back, and on Wednesday afternoon at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, the Americans were back with it, defeating Italy, 2-0, behind the one-hit pitching of 38-year-old superstar Cat Osterman, who came out of retirement for another shot at the Olympics.

Osterman, who won a gold medal in 2004 and a silver in 2008 with Team USA, pitched six stellar innings, striking out nine while facing only three batters over the minimum. Fellow veteran pitching standout Monica Abbott, 35, a member of the 2008 Olympic team, came on in the seventh and struck out the side to complete the shutout victory. 

Fittingly, Michelle Moultrie’s single drove in Valerie Arioto for the first U.S. run. Moultrie and Arioto have been members of the U.S. national softball team for 10 years, throwing their heart and soul into the team even when there was no guarantee that they would ever see another Olympic Games.

The game was played in an empty, cavernous 30,000-seat stadium, foreshadowing the unfortunate look of this pandemic Olympics in which spectators are not allowed.

But the site was symbolic. Fukushima was chosen as the location for the first two rounds of the softball tournament and one baseball game in order to honor the area’s recovery after the March 2011 nuclear disaster, which was caused by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. 

Earlier in the stadium, host Japan defeated Australia, 8-1, to get the Olympics off to their unofficial start more than two days before the opening ceremony. 

The first two games of these Olympics were a fitting tribute to the perseverance of the softball players and their sport, an immensely popular television product that received such a raw deal from the IOC but still had the patience and the will to eventually return.

Wanting to get rid of baseball because it was laden with steroids and would never be able to send its best players to the Summer Olympics, the IOC took a secret vote in 2005 and somehow eliminated softball too.

The decision was ridiculous; for years, the IOC had been working toward bringing in more women’s sports to narrow the Games’ participation gender gap — and then it eliminated a women’s sport. 

It has always been thought that some members of the Euro-centric organization, the ultimate old boys’ club, didn’t know the difference between baseball and softball and ended up getting rid of them both.

Thanks to Japan’s love for both sports, they once again will have their day at the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, it might be fleeting; Paris is not expected to include softball and baseball in 2024.

But, four years after that, 2028 host Los Angeles likely will, ensuring the unusual Olympic journey of softball and baseball will continue.

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Team USA Softball Secures First Tokyo Olympics Win Over Italy, Cat Osterman Pitches 6 Scoreless Innings

PEOPLE 21 July, 2021 - 12:44am

Osterman pitched six scoreless innings during Team USA softball's first game in the 2021 Summer Olympics on Wednesday. The American women were ultimately victorious over Italy, winning 2-0 in Tokyo. The success marks Team USA's first victory in this year's Games, with most events kicking off after Friday's Opening Ceremony.

Amanda Chidester, Haylie McCleney, Valerie Arioto, Michelle Moultrie and Aubree Munro all had hits for the U.S.

Italy didn't go down easily, though, with both teams hitless until the bottom of the fourth inning.

"I think it was really good for us to get a good game under our belt. We knew Italy was gonna be scrappy. They're probably one of the most cohesive groups in this tournament," McCleney told reporters afterward. "They play like a family, and we knew they were gonna give us a tough game."

She added: "I'm excited to see how our bats catch fire later on in the tournament."

Next up, the softball team will face Canada at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball stadium in their quest for a gold medal.

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Osterman actually announced her retirement from softball in 2015, but returned to the Olympic team to tend to some "unfinished business," she told PEOPLE earlier this year.

"I feel like I was born and raised in this program, getting in at such a young age of 18," Osterman told PEOPLE. "I felt like I needed to come do my job as a veteran and come back and help them navigate the journey to a gold medal."

After her strong performance in Wednesday's game, her teammate McCleney praised her: "She is experienced and she is our rock."

The Latest: Swedish women's soccer team leads US at halftime

USA TODAY 20 July, 2021 - 09:54pm

Sweden has surprised the top-ranked United States with a goal in the 25th minute to lead 1-0 at halftime of the...

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TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year's delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

Britain has opened the Olympic women’s soccer tournament with a 2-0 victory over Chile.

Lauren Hemp’s header put the ball in front of Ellen White for a close-in goal in the 18th minute. White’s second goal was a volley to the far post in the 75th.

Chile, ranked No. 37 in the world, was making its Olympic debut. Known as La Roja, Chile qualified for Tokyo by beating Cameroon 2-1 in an intercontinental playoff.

Britain’s roster for Tokyo is composed mostly of English players, but Kim Little and Caroline Weir are from Scotland and Sophia Ingle is from Wales.

Because British Olympic teams include Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, all four must be in agreement to participate. The only other Olympics that has included a British team was London in 2012.

England, ranked No. 6, was among the top three UEFA finishers at the 2019 World Cup, which earned Britain its spot.

Britain faces Japan and Chile plays Canada on Saturday in Sapporo as group play continues.

Sweden has surprised the top-ranked United States with a goal in the 25th minute to lead 1-0 at halftime of the Olympic women’s soccer tournament on Wednesday.

Sweden famously knocked out the Americans in the quarterfinals of the Brazil Games, for the earlies U.S. Olympic exit ever.

The Swedes dominated the U.S. in the opening half at Tokyo Stadium, going ahead on Stina Blackstenius’ header into the far corner off a cross from Sofia Jakobsson. The United States looked stale, with its best chance coming on a Rose Lavelle shot that hit the post.

The United States is unbeaten in 44 straight games, and was vying to become the first team to win Olympic gold after a World Cup victory.

Sweden won the silver in Brazil, falling to Germany in the gold medal match.

Brisbane will host the 2032 Olympics, the inevitable winner of a one-city race steered by the International Olympic Committee to avoid rival bids.

The Games will go back to Australia 32 years after the popular 2000 Sydney Olympics. Melbourne hosted in 1956.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told International Olympic Committee voters in an 11-minute live video link from his office that Australia knows what it takes to deliver a successful Games.

Brisbane follows 2028 host Los Angeles in getting 11 years to prepare for hosting the Games. Paris will host in 2024.

The 2032 deal for the Australian east coast city looked done even months before the formal decision by IOC members at their meeting ahead of the Tokyo Games, which open Friday.

A Chilean taekwondo athlete and a Dutch skateboarder are the latest Olympians to test positive for coronavirus at the Tokyo Games.

Chilean athlete Fernanda Aguirre says in an Instagram post she is “devastated” and says “I feel so much sadness, anguish, frustration.”

She adds “it’s something that angers me a lot and I feel it’s just unfair that my dream is crushed after so much sacrifice.”

Aguirre was training in Uzbekistan prior to coming to Tokyo. The Chilean Olympic Committee says she tested negative before her flight but then positive at the airport in Japan. She’s asymptomatic but won’t be able to compete because she will have to spend at least 10 days in quarantine.

Dutch Olympic skateboarder Candy Jacobs likewise says she is “heartbroken” after being sent into quarantine. She won't get to compete in the street discipline in skateboarding

Jacobs revealed the positive test in an Instagram post Wednesday. The Dutch team says she will quarantine for 10 days. Dutch broadcaster NOS reports she was removed from the Olympic village.

Looking to the future, the 31-year-old Jacobs says “I will need some time to let my broken heart heal and recover from this. Let’s go Paris 2024.”

An American beach volleyball player is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan, USA Volleyball said on Wednesday, three days before the start of play at the Tokyo Olympics.

The national federation did not identify the athlete, citing privacy concerns. But another player told The Associated Press that Taylor Crabb was in quarantine. The other player spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information.

NBC4 News in Los Angeles first reported late Tuesday night, Wednesday in Japan, that Crabb tested positive and quoted his brother, fellow beach volleyball pro Trevor Crabb, as saying the first-time Olympian is “fine and healthy and should be allowed to play in my personal opinion.”

Taylor Crabb’s would-be teammate, four-time Olympian Jake Gibb, did not immediately respond to a message from the AP seeking comment. The Orange County Register reported that Tri Bourne would replace Taylor Crabb and join Gibb in Tokyo for their first match on Sunday.

Although beach volleyball teams go through the qualifying process as pairs, international volleyball federation rules allow a player to be replaced up until Thursday evening. Gibb and Crabb had been scheduled to play their first match on Sunday night.

British and Chilean soccer players have taken a knee before kickoff in their opening match at the Tokyo Olympics.

The British women kneeled first, followed by their Chilean counterparts at the Sapporo Dome on Wednesday.

They were the first soccer players at the Olympics to perform the anti-racism gesture after the International Olympic Committee relaxed the rules on protests being allowed by the IOC.

FIFA has approved players taking a knee since some teams started doing it last year, particularly in England, where most of the British players are from.

The United States has begun its quest to regain the Olympic softball gold medal with a dominating performance from Cat Osterman, who lost the championship game 13 years ago.

She pitched one-hit ball over six innings and struck out nine to beat Italy 2-0 Wednesday.

Michelle Moultrie singled in a run in the fourth inning for the top-ranked U.S., which lost the title to Japan 3-1 at the 2008 Beijing Games. Janie Reed, the wife of Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jake Reed, added a sacrifice fly.

Osterman, a 38-year-old left-hander, walked none on a humid afternoon with a 94-degree temperature that was even more steamy on the artificial turf. The last remaining player from the 2004 gold medalists, she improved to 6-1 in Olympic play with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Softball and baseball were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics.

American swimmer Becca Meyers has pulled out of the Paralympics because she says the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee won’t let her bring her mother to Tokyo as her personal care assistant.

Meyers, who is deaf and blind as the result of a rare genetic disorder, won three gold medals at the last Paralympics. She says in a statement that the USOPC had approved her mother to act as her assistant at all international meets since 2017.

The USOPC says that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are increased restrictions on delegation size at the Tokyo Games. That’s left the federation only one slot for a PCA who will have to assist 34 Paralympic swimmers. The USOPC says the PCA has more than 27 years of coaching experience and 11 years with para swimmers.

Meyers, 26, says she made the decision to drop out because she is “speaking up for future generations of Paralympic athletes in hope that they never have to experience the pain I’ve been through.”

Equestrian Australia says it has provisionally suspended a member of the Olympic show jumping team over a positive test for cocaine.

The governing body says Jamie Kermond returned a positive A-sample for a metabolite of cocaine following a test conducted by Sport Integrity Australia on June 26.

It says Kermond was banned from competing at the Tokyo Olympics but had the right to have his B-sample analyzed.

The 36-year-old Kermond was expected to make his Olympic debut at Tokyo.

The Australian Olympic Committee says in a statement that it's aware of Kermond’s provisional suspension and that its selection committee will meet to consider his status on the team.

The head of the World Health Organization says the Tokyo Olympics should not be judged by how many COVID-19 cases arise because eliminating risk is impossible.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an International Olympic Committee meeting that how infections are handled is what matters most.

“The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted,” he said.

The number of Games-linked COVID-19 cases in Japan this month was 79 on Wednesday, with more international athletes testing positive at home and unable to travel.

Teammates classed as close contacts of infected athletes can continue training and preparing for events under a regime of isolation and extra monitoring.

Host Japan is off to a winning start as the Tokyo Olympics get underway, beating Australia 8-1 Wednesday in softball behind 39-year-old pitcher Yukiko Ueno, who won the 2008 gold medal game against the United States.

The game was played in a nearly empty stadium. Fans were barred because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many in Japan have questioned whether the Olympics should take place at all with low levels of vaccination in the nation.

Ueno allowed two hits over 4 1/3 innings and struck out seven, throwing 85 pitches for the win.

Minori Naito and Saki Yamazaki hit two-run homers off loser Kaia Parnaby. Yu Yamamoto, who had three RBIs, added a two-run drive against Tarni Stepto in the fifth that ended the game under a rout rule.

Japan is defending softball gold medalist after upsetting the U.S. in the 2008 final. Softball and baseball were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics. They already have been dropped for the 2024 Paris Games but are likely to be restored for 2028 in Los Angeles.

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

© 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

Cat Osterman's big encore: As Olympic softball returns, the U.S. veteran is out to avenge the shock of 2008

The Athletic 20 July, 2021 - 11:29am

Cat Osterman’s big encore: As Olympic softball returns, the U.S. veteran is out to avenge the shock of 2008

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