July 9, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lisa Fernandez and the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team, which included Stanford alums Jessica Mendoza and alternate Lauren Lappin, will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame's Class of 2012, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced in May.
Additionally, Stanford head coach John Rittman served as an assistant coach for the 2004 team that won the gold medal in Athens, Greece.
Fernandez is one of six individuals who has been selected in the individual category while the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team will be the only team honored.
Recognizing the ongoing support that fans give U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls in their training and competition, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate was one of the first major sports halls of fame to incorporate fan voting into the selection process. The induction ceremony will take place Thursday, July 12 in Chicago at the Hilton Palmer House. Fernandez and the 2004 team are the first softball athletes to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Dubbed the "Real Dream Team" on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team went 9-0 in Athens, a record that included eight consecutive shutouts and four run-rule wins. In total, the Americans outscored opponents 51-1, not allowing an opponent to score until 55 2/3 innings into the tournament when Australia scored in the sixth inning of the Gold Medal Game.
Along with Mendoza, Lappin and Rittman, members of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team are Laura Berg, Crystl Bustos, Fernandez, Jennie Finch, Amanda Freed, Lori Harrigan, Lovieanne Jung, Kelly Kretschman, Tairia Mims Flowers, Stacey Nuveman, Leah O'Brien-Amico, Cat Osterman, Jenny Topping and Natasha Watley. The other two alternate members were Jaime Clark and Nicole Giordano. The team was coached by Mike Candrea and assistant coach Ken Eriksen.
"First of all, what a great honor for the 2004 Olympic team and Lisa to be inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame," said Candrea. "This team set the standard for our sport as they performed flawlessly in Athens and dominated the world. They put together a great performance by great athletes and truly committed to the process of being the very best ever. I am so proud to have been a part of this great group of athletes, coaches, and the USA Softball family."
Members of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team set 18 Olympic records in Athens. No U.S. Olympic Team has ever given a more dominant performance with as many team and individual Olympic records broken en route to the Gold Medal. Among the teams records set were the most hits (73), highest team batting average (.343) and highest slugging percentage (.559). Fernandez set the individual record for batting average with .545, while Crystal Bustos' 10 RBI and five home runs were also records.
The U.S. pitching staff, led by Fernandez, had the lowest combined earned run average (.12) in Olympic history. One run is also the fewest allowed by a team in Olympic history. And dominant pitching was no fluke in Athens as the team also had a 0.22 ERA during the "Aiming for Athens" Olympic preparation tour, in which they went 53-0 in 30 cities.
Other honors garnered by the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team were the 2004 USOC Team of the Year award and the 2004 ESPY for Best Female Olympic Performance. Candrea was named the 2004 USOC Coach of the Year and for her individual performance in Athens, Fernandez was a finalist for the 2004 USOC SportsWoman of the Year award.
Courtesy of USA Softball