TORONTO (May 12, 2021) - Softball Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have nominated Canada’s women’s softball team to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The 15 athletes were selected by Softball Canada’s coaching staff in accordance with the Women’s National Team Olympic Team Selection Process.
Canada qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the 2019 WBSC Softball Americas Qualifier held in Surrey, B.C. by finishing in the top two of the 12-team event along with Mexico.
“There is no greater privilege than to wear Canada across your chest and represent the most amazing country and fans,” said catcher Kaleigh Rafter. “For me, this is the last step in a 14-year journey that dates back to 2007. I want to give a big thank you to my family who has supported this dream of mine since the very beginning. I would also like to thank Softball Canada for their support of this team since it was removed from the Olympic program. Without their commitment, we would not be in the position we are in today.”
Softball returns to the Olympic Games after being left off at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Canada narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish the last time the sport appeared at Beijing 2008.
“The naming of the Olympic roster is another phase completed in our 2021 gold medal mission,” said pitcher Sara Groenewegen. “I am excited for the opportunity to represent Canada with the 14 other women named to the team. It takes a village to prepare for the Olympic Games, and even though 15 women were named to this roster, there were countless other people involved to prepare us for this moment. We are excited and ready for the chance to make history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
Canada is ranked third in the WBSC Women’s Softball World Rankings and has won three bronze medals over the last five WBSC World Championships, including back-to-back bronze medals in 2016 and 2018. The team won gold at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games and captured silver medals at Guadalajara 2011 and Lima 2019.
"I have a soft spot in my heart for our Olympic softball team,” said Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Marnie McBean. “In 2008, when I was beginning my mentoring journey I spent a lot of time with the team. I learned a lot from their sport culture about team responsibilities and moving beyond obstacles. I can’t wait to see, support, and I’m sure, learn from our Olympic team."
Softball will take place July 22 to July 27 (Day -2 to 4) at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium and the Yokohama Baseball Stadium.
The athletes nominated are:
1. Jenna Caira (Toronto, Ont. )
2. Emma Entzminger (Victoria, B.C.)
3. Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.)
4. Jennifer Gilbert (Saskatoon, Sask.)
5. Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, B.C.)
6. Kelsey Harshman (Delta, B.C.)
7. Victoria Hayward (Toronto, Ont.)
8. Danielle Lawrie (Langley, B.C.)
9. Janet Leung (Mississauga, Ont.)
10. Joey Lye (Toronto, Ont.)
11. Erika Polidori (Brantford, Ont.)
12. Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, Ont.)
13. Lauren Regula (Trail, B.C.)
14. Jennifer Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.)
15. Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, Ont.)
1. Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, Alta.)
2. Callum Pilgrim (Abbotsford, B.C.)
3. Morgan Rackel (Calgary, Alta.)
The coaches nominated are:
1. Mark Smith (Falmouth, N.S.) - Head Coach
2. Lonni Alameda (Tallahassee, Florida) – Assistant Coach
3. Melissa Basilio (Oshawa, Ont.) – Assistant Coach
4. Chris Jones (Oshawa, Ont.) – Assistant Coach
3. Wade Gilbert (Fresno, California) – Mental Performance
4. Carolyn Taylor (Winnnipeg, Man.) – Performance Analyst
5. Scott Willgress (Halifax, N.S.) – Strength and Conditioning
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.
As previously announced in January 2020, the following Canadian officials have been selected to represent the WBSC:
1. Frankie Billingsley (Edmonton, Alta.) - Umpire
2. Geneviève Gaudreau (St-Hubert, Que.) - Umpire
3. Kevin Quinn (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) - Technical Delegate
4. Roberto Perez-Leon (Delta, B.C.) - Technical Commission Director
5. Bob Stanton (Fredericton, N.B.) - Umpire Director
Gilles LeBlanc, Manager, Marketing & Communications
T: 613-523-3386 x3105 / C: 613-795-1996
Josh Su, Specialist, Public Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee