August should have seen the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and Olympic legend Softball player Eri Yamada was set to captain her country, Japan in front of her home fans, as she sought to add a third Olympic medal to her collection. Japan, as the best-ranked Softball team in the world, would have been favourites to appear in a medal game. Last time Softball featured at the Olympic Games, in 2008, Yamada’s performance was decisive in the final against the USA. She is our Athlete of August 2020!
The Japanese Softball season does not restart until September, but Yamada has been doing promotional work on behalf of the Japanese team. She first appeared in the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, when her outstanding batting helped Japan take the bronze medal. Four years later in Beijing she was once again the star performer of the team. There can be few better moments in sport than to hit the winning home run in the Olympic final against the USA.
Yamada's memorable strike made her a national hero in her Softball-loving nation. So she was delighted when she heard the news that Softball, which had been dropped from the Olympic programme for the last two editions, would once again be contested for medals at her home Games.
It was anticipated that Yamada would be one of the big stars of Tokyo 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic has intervened. The award of the August Athlete of the Month honours an outstanding Softball player.
Softball, one of the founding sports of The World Games, was contested at the maiden edition in Santa Clara in 1981. With The World Games returning to America for the first time in 41 years, the popular sport will once again feature on the programme at Birmingham in 2022. As the next scheduled edition of the Women's Softball World Championships has been pushed back to 2023, the multi-sport event in Alabama will double up as a World Championships.
Tokyo 2020 would not only have been a special moment for Softball/Baseball, but also for the sports of Karate, Surfing, Sport Climbing and DanceSport, all set to make their Olympic debuts.
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The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.