The Cat Comeback: Pitcher aims to rewrite the end of her Olympic story

Japan 2020
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Cat Osterman practicing in her driveway at home
(KXAN photo/Erin Cargile)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — If they time it right, neighbors walking by Cat Osterman’s house just might catch a glimpse of her Olympic training in action. When the 2-time Olympian and 4-time All American University of Texas softball star wants to practice her 60-plus mile per hour pitches, all she has to do is step out onto her driveway.

Her husband, who is a college golf coach, puts on a catcher’s mask and squats down in front of the backyard fence — and the warm-up begins. At the age of 36, Osterman’s still got it.

Unhappy with the first ending

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Osterman pitching in the gold medal game at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Following the 2008 loss to Japan in the gold medal game in Beijing, Osterman thought her Olympic run and softball career was over. She went into those Olympics knowing the International Olympic Committee had removed the sport from the next two summer games, which were held in London and Rio de Janeiro.

“It was gut-wrenching not to have a chance to be there because someone else took us out, not because we didn’t qualify but because our sport was taken out,” Osterman said.

She decided to retire from the sport and move on with her life. She became a softball coach at Texas State University, fell in love, got married and gained a step-daughter. But, in her words, God had other plans.

The Olympic committee voted softball back in for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. That’s when Osterman, who was coaching at the college level, was asked to be in the Olympic coaching pool for Team USA.

“If I were 100% happy with how the career — the book ended — then I would have been OK coaching,” Osterman said.

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Cat Osterman at home with her husband, Joey, and step-daughter (KXAN photo/Erin Cargile)

The journey to Tokyo

Deep down what she really wanted to do was play. After talking to fellow coaches and mentors, Osterman was convinced she could do it with a lot of hard work and determination. She spent a year working out and getting her left-handed pitches back where they needed to be and then tried out for the USA Softball team.

“That’s the first time I’ve cried seeing my name on a roster,” Osterman said. “I screamed, ‘I made it,’ hugged [my husband] in the kitchen and just started crying because it was just, for the first time in my life probably a dream come true.”

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Cat Osterman with her Olympic medals from Athens and Beijing (KXAN photo/Erin Cargile)

The next big moment was making the Olympic team. Even though she’s been twice before, Osterman said this experience will be very different. Her husband and step-daughter will be in the stands cheering her on.

“I want her to see what hard work looks like. I want her to see how you get success from that hard work and how you continue to build on that,” Osterman said.

Osterman will be 37 years old when she takes the mound in Tokyo. She is also bringing a new strength to the field. Osterman said she has grown more in her Christian faith, something she has been more outspoken about in recent years.

“There was a small piece missing,” Osterman said. “And that’s the final piece to the puzzle to where I can go out there and know at the end of the day regardless of what happens, I am doing what I am destined to do.”

Osterman and the USA Softball Women’s National Team will be playing games across the country to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Click here to see if the “Stand Beside Her” tour is coming to a city near you!

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KXAN’s Erin Cargile interviewing Cat Osterman at her home (KXAN photo/Todd Bynum)

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