Monica Abbott discusses retirement with Japanese media and looks forward to softball at the LA28 Olympic Games

24/10/2022
“I’ve always said that softball needs to be in the Olympics. As a women’s sport, high pace, fast energy, big rivalries and great story lines… softball belongs in the Olympic Games,” Abbott said.
Two weeks ago, Monica Abbott, one of the greatest athletes to play softball, announced her retirement from the JD.League after the 2022 season, slated to finish in November with the playoffs and finals. This weekend, Abbott talked with the Japanese media during a press conference about her pending retirement, the Japanese stars of softball Yukiko Ueno and Miu Goto, her career in Japan, and her future in the sport and the LA28 Olympic Games.

“It’s been 14 years now that I’ve been playing in Japan, and 16 years in the US, and it’s been a great time,” she said to the media. “But I think I felt ready in my heart and in my body, and it’s ok to say goodbye. It’s ok to pass to the next generation of Toyota Red Terriers.”

She was asked by the Japanese media about softball’s possible comeback to the Olympic programme in the Los Angeles 2028 Games. And Abbott was straight to the point: “I’ve always said that softball needs to be in the Olympics. As a women’s sport, high pace, fast energy, big rivalries and great story lines… softball belongs in the Olympic Games.”

Abbott’s career has been marked by a big rivalry with Japanese super star Yukiko Ueno, who defeated the left-handed US pitcher both in the Beijing 2008 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold Medal Games, and has played against her during her entire career in Japan’s JD.League.

“Ueno san is like a softball God, she always wins. Even when she doesn’t pitch well, somehow the team still wins,” Abbott said laughing. “It’s pretty much respect. Like myself, when you play for a long time, being able to keep that level of play is a little bit difficult. You know, the speed, stability, composure, emotion, all of these things get a little bit harder as you play longer. She’s done this great, I just really respect her, and I love being able to compete against her over the years.”

The pitcher born in Salinas, California, also reflected about her sport and life journey in Japan. “For me, as an American, being able to live in another country and experience another culture has been so important to forming me as a person.”