At the IOC's general session during the Rio Olympics, baseball and softball were readmitted to the Olympic program for Tokyo 2020 following a two-cycle absence. The decision came as no surprise considering the popularity of baseball and softball in Japan.
Baseball and softball will again be absent from the Paris 2024 Olympics, but are likely to return once more for Los Angeles 2028.
Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott: Two players, Osterman and Abbott, will head to Tokyo with Team USA having already played Olympic softball games. Osterman was the youngest member of Team USA during the 2004 Athens Olympics, where she picked up two wins and one save and led the U.S. in strikeouts en route to the gold medal. Four years later, Osterman led the U.S. pitching staff – which also included a 23-year-old Monica Abbott – to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the preliminary round, Osterman threw the second seven-inning no-hitter in U.S. Olympic history against Australia.
A few days later, Abbott made history of her own with a five-inning perfect game against the Netherlands, the first perfect game in Olympic history. Abbott also pitched Team USA to two wins over Japan, once in the preliminary round and again in a semifinal. However, in the gold medal game, also against Japan, Osterman started and gave up two runs. Abbott then entered in relief and conceded a third as the U.S. fell to Japan 3-1. Both pitchers hope to avenge that loss on Japan's home soil this summer.