The United States women's softball team has won every gold medal since softball became an Olympic sport in 1996. But as Chris Cox reports, the U.S. women's softball team is preparing to defend its gold medal in Beijing, knowing this will be the last opportunity to play softball at the Olympic games.
In 2005, the International Olympic Committee voted to take softball off the Olympic schedule starting with the 2012 London games. To stay on the summer games program, softball needed a two-thirds majority. It was one vote short.
The unbroken success of the U.S. team has boosted softball's popularity in the United States.
Star pitcher Jennie Finch says the IOC decision is tough, but there's a silver lining. "It's heart breaking,” she said. “It's very disappointing to know that we're out for 2012, but for us the future's bright and our sport is at an all-time high, and we'll just keep pushing on and hope for 2016 to get it back in."
Head coach Mike Candrea also wants to see softball in the 2016 games. But right now he is focused on helping the team win.
"Well yeah, I think you know, this team has grown from 2004 when we had a tremendous performance but I think they also realize that what happened in the past, happened in the past and you got to do it again," Candrea said.
Jennie Finch says it's an honor to play for her country. "For us, that's what's so special about wearing this USA uniform, is to know the dominance that it has and the tradition of USA, which is gold. Three gold medals. So, we definitely have a target on our back but that just makes us work harder,” she said.
The U.S. women's team starts its gold medal defense against Venezuela on August 12 in Beijing.