stories go, Dot Richardson was a champion long before she won a gold medal in 1996
with her United States teammates in softball.
Even as a young child, she was a very good player and was once recruited to play
on a boy’s team, provided that she cut her hair and change her name to Bob!
"No thank you", replied Dot.
At the ripe age of 13 in 1976, she played
with the Orlando Rebels of ASA League. She was the youngest player, and at the
age of 15 she was drafted into a professional softball league.
Again, Dot responded with a decline.
It was her goal to play softball for the United
States in the Olympics some day.
Believe it or not, the International
Olympic Committee (IOC) had not
even considered softball as an Olympic event until 1988.
It was supposed to be a demonstration sport then but was eventually passed
Richardson went on to play softball
for UCLA. Her skills and
determination won her the NCAA Player of a Decade after being named All American
four times. The 1992
Olympics did not include softball as an event and Dot was losing faith.
She started her medical training as a
surgeon at the USC Medical Center, and as fate would have it, it was announced
that in 1996 that softball would be included as a medal event.
Of course, Dot put her career on hold and continued practicing everyday
and night. Her neighbors in her
apartment suggested that she did not practice late into the night, but
determined as she was, she wrapped tape on her bat to muffle the
sound and continued to practice into the late night.
She played in the 1996 games after waiting 29 years, seven months
and 21 days for the moment as her dreams came true.
She had set several goals and accomplished them all, even at the expense of going into a $140,000
U.S. worth of debt. During the game and the fourth time at bat, she hit a home run and again she hit
a home run in the gold medal game. She
went to podium to receive her medal as finally
her dream came true.
Her story is one of pure talent and
determination. In the end, it
seemed well worth the debt and delay in her career to pursue her dreams.