The last time softball was contested at the Olympics, Monica Abbott was Team USA’s youngest player. Twelve years later, Abbott hopes she can once again don the red, white and blue on the world’s greatest stage, but this time as perhaps the oldest player on the team.
Then 23 years old, the pitcher helped lead the U.S. Olympic Softball Team to its fourth straight Olympic medal, a silver, at the Beijing 2008 Games. The sport was then removed from the Olympic program indefinitely.
That changed on Aug. 3, 2016, when the International Olympic Committee voted to include baseball/softball, skateboarding, surfing, karate and sports climbing on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic program.
Abbott, who will turn 35 during the 2020 Games, revealed Friday that she would like to return to the Olympics when her sport does and contend for gold.
“If I can still sling the rock pretty well, I would like to play,” Abbott said to Olympic soccer champion and interviewer Julie Foudy at the espnW: Women + Sports Summit. “I was the youngest player in 2008, and I would probably be the oldest in 2020. ... It would be my honor.”
Abbott is the first U.S. Olympic softball player to say publicly she hopes to compete in Tokyo.
She played with the national team from 2005-2010, and has played in the sport’s pro league, National Pro Fastpitch, since 2007.
Earlier this year, Abbott made headlines when she signed a six-year deal with the Scrap Yard Dawgs worth $1 million. She is believed to be the first female athlete to earn a million-dollar deal from an American professional sports league.