Monica Abbott received her diamond just before she makes another run at gold.
Abbott, an ace pitcher for the U.S. softball team that will compete at next year’s Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, announced her engagement to now-fiancé Jeff Bower in a video posted to Instagram Monday night.
“Here we go!!!” she captioned it, with a lovestruck emoji. “It’s been a winding road but it’s been worth the wait! Excited to do this thing called life with you 💞@jeff_bower35.”
The video shows Bower dropping to a knee and presenting a ring under what appears to be an oceanside villa. At one point Bower appears to point to the camera, and a stunned Abbott brings her hands to her face in disbelief.
Several of her current and former teammates were just as excited, sharing congratulatory messages.
“CONGRATS MONI MON!!!!!” commented Team USA outfielder Haylie McCleney. “Love you guys!!!”
A native of Salinas, California, and 2007 graduate from the University of Tennessee, Abbott was the youngest player on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Softball Team that won a silver medal in Beijing, a bittersweet experience as Team USA came in as the favorite and the International Olympic Committee had previously announced that softball would not be included in future Olympic Games.
The star left-hander, now 34, continued with the national team through 2010 and enjoyed a successful professional career in the U.S. and Japan after that.
However, after the IOC voted to include softball on the Olympic program for 2020 in Tokyo, Abbott announced her intention to rejoin the national team, and in the summer of 2018 she did just that.
“I knew if I had the opportunity that I wanted the chance to be the veteran (at the Olympics),” Abbott told TeamUSA.org last year. “I want a chance to play not only in Japan in front of some of the people I’ve been playing for for Toyota, but I also wanted that opportunity to be that veteran, to share my experiences from ’08 and to help the girls on Team USA and the staff of Team USA with those types of things. You can draw from the old and combine it with the new to make the best combination.”
Abbott has since gone on to help the U.S. win the 2018 world title and 2019 Pan American Games gold medal, and in October she was one of 15 players named to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Softball Team. Fellow pitcher Cat Osterman also completed a successful Olympic comeback after competing in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
On his Instagram bio, Bower lists himself as the head equipment manager for the new XFL team that debuts next year in St. Louis.