Olympians return to Florida Southern College

Olympians return to Florida Southern College

A collection of the greatest athletes from the United States to play softball took to the fields at Florida Southern College once again to continue their COVID-paused quest for Olympic glory in Tokyo.Cat Osterman pitches during a training session for USA Softball's National Womens Team at Florida Southern College in Lakeland

USA Softball’s National Women’s Team (NWT) – the same women that will represent the United States at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics – returned to Lakeland for a two week training session. It was the first time many of the women had taken the field together since the Stand Beside Her Tour was stopped in April of last year. The NWT had started the tour in Lakeland last year.

After two weeks of great weather and solid training, the women will return home for a short visit with their families before embarking on a truncated tour and, finally, on to Tokyo.

While the greatest women playing the game may be leaving Polk County, the finest slowpitch mens teams are coming in.

The Tournament of Champions is a little different this year, thanks to the pandemic, but will still put nearly 90 teams on fields throughout Polk County. Changes this year include not holding a banquet, the All-Star Game, or the annual game against the Slugger Warriors, a team comprised of amputee combat veterans.