Relive the 2000 Olympic Games
Relive the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia!
Riding a 100-game win
streak, the United States entered the 2000 Olympic Games as a clear-cut
favorite. The players and coaches of the
U.S. National Team knew that the remaining teams in the eight-team field had
improved since 1996, but it was yet to be determined just how much ground the
programs had covered. Although some
facets of the U.S. Team had changed, one aspect of the team that remained was
the strength of the U.S. pitching staff, comprised of Lisa Fernandez, Michele
Smith, Lori Harrigan, Christa Williams and Danielle Henderson.
In the Olympic opener, Harrigan became the first
pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Olympic competition as the U.S. rolled past
Canada 6-0. Bustos stepped it up in the
second game, going 5-for-7, including three home runs, to lead the U.S. in a
3-0 win against Cuba.
Games three, four and five had different outcomes as
U.S. fans watched the Americans suffer through their first three-game losing
streak in International competition. The
U.S. pitching staff was on the mark, compiling 62 strike outs, 11 hits and five
walks throughout the 38 innings of play.
A 2-1 loss to Japan, a 2-0 defeat by China and a 2-1 loss to Australia
meant that the U.S. might not even make medal-round let alone defend the Gold.
The Americans remained tough, however, and moved the
ball back to their court by picking up a 2-0 win against New Zealand and
another 6-0 victory against Italy. As
the U.S. pushed through to the meal rounds, they soon faced the opponents who
had beaten them in round-robin play. The
Americans soon faced the opponents who had defeated them in round-robin play
and they made it their mission to ensure they received a different end
result. Stacey Nuveman helped push the
U.S. past China, 3-0 with a game winning home run in the tenth inning, followed
by a 1-0 win over the Australians.
Team USA now faced an unbeaten Japan team, the final
obstacle before claiming back-to-back Olympic Gold Medals. Fernandez got the start and pitched a
one-hitter before Reika Utsugi drove a home run just over the glove of U.S.
center fielder Laura Berg. They U.S.
would not stay down, and Nuveman pulled through for the Americans with an RBI
single. Now tied, Berg had a chance to
redeem herself. With pinch-runner
Jennifer McFalls at second, Berg drove a
ball to deep left field. Japan’s Shiori
Koseki covered great ground, but started to fall backwards in the rain-slicked
grass. Koseki caught the ball for a
second before dropping it to the turf, allowing McFalls to run home to seal the
United States as the 2000 Olympic Gold Medalists.
The winning wasn’t pretty and at certain times the
U.S. games weren’t pretty either, but that made the gold medal even more
special. “This one means a lot more to me, because we had to do so much more to
win it,” said Fernandez. Ralph Raymond,
the National Team’s head coach agreed. “It’s always sweeter the second time