U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM MEDIA SUMMIT: Quotes from Softball Press Conference Monday, April 14

April 15, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
Press Conference Quotes Monday, April 14 3:10-4:20 pm Softball Participants: Head Coach Mike Candrea (MC) Crystl Bustos (CB) Jennie Finch (JF) Jessica Mendoza (JM) Cat Osterman (CO) Quotes: Q: What is the main purpose of having a 45-city tour before Beijing' MC: We want to prepare ourselves and we'll also have the opportunity to reach out to the grassroots with all these girls being icons of the sport. To give young kids the opportunity to dream no matter what happens. JM: We are representing our country. It is amazing to look into the eyes of the young girls and have them feel like a part of us. Q: What did it mean to you when you lost to Virginia Tech' CB: It was definitely a gut check for me_ It's just something that's going to sit with us. It's something that had to happen to make us better. Q: Can you talk about the decision to not take Lisa Fernandez on the Olympic Team' MC: The selection process had been in place for many years. Lisa is an icon in the sport and we're going to miss her. My job and the committee had to make the best team to win a gold medal. CB: She will always be a leader on the team and to us_ She may not be in the dugout but her leadership will always be with us. We will carry that leadership into the arena in Beijing. Q: Can you sustain the interest of the sport with it not being in the Games in the future' CB: We go everywhere and talk to kids and express what we are doing on and off the field. They appreciate it across the board. JF: We're going to do everything we can to prove that we belong in the Olympics and we plan to use Beijing as a platform to do this_ In the U.S. the millions of girls have the option of getting a scholarship and playing in college. But in other countries the Olympics is the only place to pursue their dream. We want to continue that dream for the young girls in Croatia or China-that's what it's all about. CO: The biggest thing we can do is go and show the best softball they've ever seen. If we put on the best show they've ever seen than we can prove softball should remain in the Olympics. CB: Watch the game being played at the highest level and ask the people what it means to them that we're there. Q: What do you believe your role as an athlete should be in Beijing' JM: As athletes we have the visibility to create awareness about positive issues_ As athletes we can be great advocates for these causes_ As much as I want to create as much awareness as I can, I'll tell you what, when I walk in that arena I have nothing but wanting to win a gold medal on my mind. To be honest, we are on a 45-city tour right now so my thoughts are on the team. JM: [On creating awareness in Beijing]_I'd love to sit down over a bowl of spaghetti and talk to athletes from all over the world to see what we can do to make a difference. Q: Do you have any concerns about pollution' JF: We were over there in August of 2006 at the same venue we'll be competing in and we didn't have a problem. We're just there to compete and that's what we live for and that's what we dream about. The coach always says, 'control the controllables,' and that's not one of the controllables.
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