Since Tokyo, It has been pretty the journey for Sara Groenewegen’s bronze medal.
The medal travelled to Vancouver, Whistler and Kelowna. It is been in espresso retailers and eating places. It spent An excellent deal of time in its proprietor’s trusted fanny pack.
And it even watched As a Outcome of the Canadian softball pitcher acquired her Olympic tattoo.
“My tattoo artist started tearing up, hpreviousing it in his hand,” Groenewegen said.
“That is how a lot of an influence it has on people. So it’s exactly cool to share that with random strangers.”
For Groenewegen, the medal beprolongeds simply as a lot to Canada As a Outcome of it does herself. That is why she’s made such Some extent of taking it Collectively with her All by way of the place she goes, to share her Olympic pleasure with The Reprimaryder of the nation — and develop The sport Inside The tactic.
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Olympic Momalest: Canada’s softball group re-writes historic previous with an epic bronze medal win in Tokyo
Now, the 26-yr-previous Surrey, B.C., native has her medal in Rosemont, Unwell., shut to Chicago, the place she’ll play Inside the second season of the expert womales’s softball league Athletes Limitless.
On The sector, she’ll be joined by Canadian captain Victoria Hayward and third baseman Kelsey Harshman. Joey Lye, who performed Inside the league’s inaugural 2020 season, returns as a coach. And pitcher Danielle Lawrie, who shutd out Canada’s bronze-medal victory, is slated to work as A colour commalestator for the second straight yr.
The season begins on Saturday. Athletes Limitless was launched final yr as A primary-of-its-type professional sports activities enterprise. The season is 5 weeks prolonged, with new groups drafted every week. However within that group context, athletes compete as people, compiling factors with on-area achievemalests Starting from A house run to a strikeout to a victory.
It is meant To spotlight womales’s sports activities and proceed momalestum gained from the Olympic spotlight.
For Groenewegen, sharing the medal is her Method of contributing to that objective.
“The medal symbolizes A lot of exhausting work. So I exactly feel simply sharing The enpleasuremalest and sharing it with as many little youthfulsters as You will Have The power to To assist develop our sport and simply develop the dream and The will of enpleasureing On The very biggest diploma,” she said.
WATCH | Groenewegen’s inspiring journey to Tokyo:
The Olympians: Sara Groenewegen
Hayward, of Toronto, said the showcase is a step in the direction of L. a. 2028, when softball Is predicted to be relaunched to the Video recreations.
“The publicity and The power for a youthful Canadian athlete simply to see experts or see People that walked Inside their footwear doing and Appearing on the extreme diploma after the Olympics, I exactly feel that proceedd publicity Is huge,” she said.
Softball Isn’t a core Olympic sport, which means it’s As a lot As a Outcome of the host metropolis whether or not it Ought to be included aprolongedside males’s baseball as Definitely one Of 5 organizer decisions. Canadian head coach Mark Smith, who retired after Tokyo, made an impassioned plea following the group’s bronze-medal win for The sport To primarytain Inside the Olympics, citing its popularity and parity.
In Athletes Limitless, Hayward and Groenewegen Shall be dealing with An excellent deal Of yank opponents whose 1-0 spherical-robin win in Tokyo assisted depart Canada enpleasureing for bronze Rather than going for gprevious.
Canada’s womales’s softball group celebrates its bronze medal On the Tokyo Olympics. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Now, They will be groupmates at occasions. And Groenewegen was surprised To Search out out that becoming a member of forces Collectively with her rivals wasn’t awkward In any respect.
“I exactly feel A pair of of the occasions that We have carried out have been tremalesdous weak. And also you only look previous being a softball participant at That time and You only exactly get to know people as people,” she said.
It is been a whirlwind yr for Canada’s softball recreationrs, who centralized in Florida in March and solely returned house after the Olympics. It was one other quick turnaspherical to Unwellinois for these involved in Athletes Limitless.
“I tried to pause, However it’s simply been The subsequent factor. What’s The subsequent journey for me and my life, And the technique am I going to make a dwelling the placeas persevering with to play? After which now we’re getting The professionalspect to compete as quickly as extra this season,” Hayward said.
Hayward, 29, will Deal with A teaching position at a prime American school the placeas persevering with her athletic profession On The identical time.
Groenewegen said she’s hoping To place her sport administration diploma To make the most of, mightbe in some performance with the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Canada’s Sara Groenewegen throws a pitch by way ofout a spherical-robin recreation On the Tokyo Olympics. (Yuichi Masuda/Getty Pictures)
However It is the biggest technique forward for softball itself with which each recreationrs are pre-occupied. Hayward’s cell-telephone quantity Is out there on Athletes Limitless’s group platform, And she or he encourages Canadian youthfulsters To Obtain out and ask about her journey.
“The alternatives that AU proceeds To professionalvide for us, for youthful people to have entry and to see one factor exact thOn They will Discover your self to be is Just one of the biggest place We will ask to be in proper now,” she said.
As it Seems, the bronze medal might have been extra of a launching level than a vacation spot.
“However now that that’s over and There Is not any future for The sport Inside the Olympics, what occurs? What occurs to Softball Canada and others, the grassroots efforts and All of the youthful goals?” Hayward said.
For now, Hayward and Groenewegen hope Athletes Limitless can reply A pair of of these questions.