Softball great Cat Osterman retires — this time for good — at 38

United States v Japan - Softball - Olympics: Day 4
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Six years after first retiring from playing competitive softball, Cat Osterman has retired once again — and this time it appears to be for good.

One of the sport’s greatest players, Osterman wraps an unforgettable chapter (well, chapters) with three Olympic medals, two world titles, three Pan American Games gold medals, four National Pro Fastpitch championships, an Athletes Unlimited championship, three USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year awards and a national team career that spanned an astounding 18 years.

Unlike in 2015, when the Chicago Bandits beat Osterman’s USSSA Pride 1-0 in the NPF final, this time she went out on a high note.

The 38-year-old finished the Athletes Unlimited season helping Team Chidester to a 3-1 win over Team Ocasio late Monday night. Osterman pitched 6.2 innings, striking out six, walking one and allowing one unearned run in her career finale.

“This is the start of a new chapter for one of the greatest competitors, pitchers, representatives of softball, and one of the greatest people to ever wear the USA uniform,” U.S. head coach Ken Eriksen said in a USA Softball statement. “Cat’s career has had an impact on the way the game has been viewed by both women and men. She has left an indelible mark on the game as well as on many people across the country. I have been one of the luckiest people to have been around her all these years while witnessing her historic career.”

The second-best pitcher in the league this season, she played her final game with several of her Tokyo Olympic teammates on the field: Amanda Chidester and Dejah Mulipola on her side, and Haylie McCleneyKelsey StewartJanie Reed and Olympic alternate Hannah Flippen opposing.

In the second stint of her career, Osterman was the inaugural Athletes Unlimited champion in 2020 and placed fifth this season. Only one athlete, Chidester, in the top-25 comes within seven years of Osterman’s age; she has 10-15 years on most players, not that her age ever shows on the mound.

“I think the fact that it’s been proven now that women can continue to play this game well beyond the age of 30, well beyond 35, I hope I see some of these players playing when they’re 35, 36, 38,” Osterman told Athletes Unlimited over the weekend.

“If somebody wants to go into their 40s like Kelly Kretschman, by all means, go right ahead. I have all the tricks in the trade if they want to learn how to take care of their bodies and everything else. It’s truly humbling, I guess, or exciting to hear people say that because that’s not what the point of un-retirement was. But if that motivates people to continue to play well into 30s to 40s, I’ll take it because someone had to do it first, I guess.”

Osterman’s first stint started off when she set records as a Texas Longhorn freshman that still stand today. Her stellar college career ended with school records in eight categories, all of which remain in tact. Fifteen years after graduating, Osterman still holds the NCAA Division I strikeout ratio record and is second in strikeouts, WHIP and perfect games.

She was named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year in 2003, 2005 and 2006 (she redshirted in 2004) and remains the only player to earn the honor more than twice. She also earned the Honda award for softball in 2005 and 2006, and ESPYs in those two years.

Osterman joined the national team in 2003 and played for the red, white and blue every year until 2010, when she first retired from national team play knowing that softball had been removed from the Olympic program following 2008.

In that stretch, she helped the U.S. win gold at the 2003 Pan American Games, 2004 Olympic Games, 2006 World Cup of Softball, 2006 World Championships, 2007 World Cup of Softball, 2007 Pan American Games, 2009 World Cup of Softball, 2010 World Cup of Softball and 2010 World Championships, plus silver at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Osterman was the youngest U.S. player in Athens in 2004 at 21 years old and led the team, which included fellow legendary pitchers Jennie Finch and Lori Harrigan, with 23 strikeouts.

Four years later in Beijing, she was still one of the six youngest players on a 15-member team and continued to dominate with 33 strikeouts, including striking out 13 in a no-hitter against eventual bronze medalist Australia; it was the U.S.’ second no-hitter in Olympic history.

The U.S. lost the gold-medal game to Japan, 3-1, for the first Olympic loss of Osterman’s career and the team’s first since 2000, following a 22-game Olympic win streak. It was the first time a team other than the U.S. had won gold in Olympic history.

Osterman continued with the national team for the next two seasons, and the NPF for five more after that.

She was the No. 1 NPF draft in 2007 and in her nine-year professional career playing for the Rockford Thunder and USSSA Pride, she amassed 1,260 strikeouts, four season titles and was named to the All-NPF team six times.

She played her then-final game Aug. 17, 2015. The Pride retired No. 8 in her honor in 2017.

Osterman married Joey Ashley and became stepmother to Bracken in 2016 and spent several years as associate head coach at Texas State.

With the 2016 news that softball would rejoin the Olympics in 2020, Osterman announced her change of heart in 2018. She tried out for – and made – the national team in 2019 with a strong desire to avenge the 2008 loss that ended her Olympic career.

In her first season playing for the U.S. in nine years, it was like Osterman had never left. She had seven strikeouts in 5.1 innings and a 0.00 ERA en route to Japan Cup gold. At the Pan American Games, where she had last played 12 years prior, she finished with a 2.25 ERA and had 18 strikeouts in 9.1 innings pitched.

She was named to the Olympic team in October of that year.

“They were in the mindset of, yes I’m here and I’m still competing, there’s nothing guaranteed whatsoever; they never let their elite status in the softball world ever be a factor,” coach Eriksen said of Osterman and Monica Abbott, a fellow pitcher on the 2008 Olympic team who came out of national team retirement in 2018, at the time. “They just never did. They checked their ego at the door and just continued to play ball.”

The pandemic delayed her final Olympic Games by a year but that didn’t deter Osterman – or any player on the U.S. squad – from waiting.

This summer, she was the oldest U.S. player in Tokyo by over two years (and was six years older than the oldest first-time Olympian). Among the six countries competing, Osterman was the fifth-oldest player and one of just five players who had also competed in Athens 17 years prior.

While Abbott led the team, Osterman had 15 strikeouts in 14.2 innings.

Despite having won the last two world championships over Japan and defeating the host nation one day before the Olympic gold-medal game, the U.S. again fell to its longtime rival and settled for Olympic silver, this time 2-0.

“Obviously it’s a heartbreak to not come home with the gold, but at the same time you have a silver medal,” Osterman said after the game. “How many people would give for that? So, learn from it but also just accept where you are in the present moment. To all the little girls out there, keep dreaming the dream.”

The result made her the oldest Olympic softball silver medalist, third-oldest softball medalist in Tokyo and one of only seven Americans with three or more Olympic medals in the sport. She and Abbott are the only two-time silver medalists in the sport.

Softball has already been left out of the Paris 2024 Games, meaning the next chance for any softball player to compete in the Olympics is in seven years in Los Angeles and making Osterman’s decision to retire for one final time an easy one.

In a letter to the sport posted to her Instagram on Tuesday morning, Osterman wrote:

“Our tango on the field has ended, but I won’t be too far away. I’ll share all you’ve taught me with anyone and everyone. I’ll help others love you the way I have, and I’ll be cheering loudly as you grow and give my peers continuous challenges and successes.

“For the last time as an athlete, I say goodbye to you.”

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After an Olympic medal, Ryan Cochran-Siegle sets new goal going into Beaver Creek

Ryan Cochran-Siegle
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For all Ryan Cochran-Siegle accomplished in one special super-G last season — coming back from breaking his neck the year before in the world’s most daunting race to winning the U.S.’ lone Olympic Alpine skiing medal — he prefers to view that winter as a whole.

“It was kind of, I think, still a learning year,” he said in a recent interview. “I realize there was some definitely shortcomings as well [as success] with my races. I think I have a lot more to prove going forward.”

Notably, Cochran-Siegle said his downhill form wasn’t where he wanted it to be. After notching the U.S. men’s first World Cup downhill podium in nearly four years in the 2020-21 season, his best finish in the discipline last season before his Olympic super-G silver medal was sixth at Beaver Creek, Colorado, last December.

“I’d like to get my downhill skiing back to where it was the year prior,” he said. “I ended up doing well by the end of the year, but I think still missing the podium and all that, I’m trying to get more consistent.”

Cochran-Siegle returns to Beaver Creek for the annual Birds of Prey World Cup stop — airing on NBC Sports and Peacock this weekend — as the top hope to extend one American streak and to end one American drought.

The U.S. men’s Alpine team notched at least one World Cup podium every calendar year from 1999 through 2021. It was a regularity in the 2000s and early 2010s between Bode Miller and Ted Ligety. It hasn’t happened often recently, and not at all in 2022 with one month left. But there are plenty of opportunities, starting with a super-G on Friday and downhills Saturday and Sunday on home snow.

Americans often post their best results at Beaver Creek. Last year in a super-G, Travis Ganong picked up his first World Cup podium in nearly five years. In 2019, Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup victory in a giant slalom.

But it has been eight years (five races, more specifically) since an American made a downhill podium at Beaver Creek, the nation’s longest drought since it became an annual World Cup stop in 2004.

Cochran-Siegle opened the speed season last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta, by posting the best American finish of ninth in a downhill. It was his best result ever at Lake Louise, but it wasn’t satisfying.

“As a team we recognize today was a little bit of a letdown all said and done,” he said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “I think we’re definitely more capable than that.”

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Figure skating TV, live stream schedule for 2022-23 season

Ilia Malinin
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NBC Sports, USA Network, E! and Peacock combine to air live coverage throughout the figure skating season, starting with Skate America in two weeks.

From October to April, the platforms will combine to air more than 200 hours of coverage, including the Grand Prix Series (October to December), the U.S. Championships in January and the world championships in March.

Peacock will live stream coverage of every event at those major competitions throughout the season.

All NBC, USA and E! coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Figure skating experienced more change this year than any other in recent history.

Russian skaters are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. None of the reigning Olympic gold medalists are entered in the fall Grand Prix Series. Yuzuru HanyuAlysa Liu and the ice dance couple of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue retired.

Enter American Ilia Malinin, the 17-year-old world junior champion who last month became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quadruple Axel in competition. Malinin and Olympic silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan duel at Skate America, the first top-level event of the season.

The U.S. also has the top returning ice dance couple of Madison Chock and Evan Bates, reigning world pairs’ champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and Isabeau Levito (15) and Lindsay Thorngren (16), who took gold and bronze at last season’s junior worlds.

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2022-23 Figure Skating Season Broadcast Schedule

Date Competition Time (ET) Platform
Oct. 21 Skate America 7:20-8:45 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 21 Skate America 7:30-10:30 p.m. USA Network
Oct. 21 Skate America 8:45-10:30 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 22 Skate America 2:40-4:15 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 22 Skate America 3-6 p.m. NBC
Oct. 22 Skate America 4:15-6 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 22 Skate America 7:15-8:45 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 22 Skate America 8-11 p.m. USA Network
Oct. 22 Skate America 9-11 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 23 Skate America 1-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 23 Skate America 3-5 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 23 Skate America 2-5 p.m. E!
Oct. 28 Skate Canada 2-3:30 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 28 Skate Canada 3:45-5:15 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 28 Skate Canada 6:45-8 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 28 Skate Canada 8-9:45 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 29 Skate Canada 1:15-3:15 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 29 Skate Canada 3:25-5 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 29 Skate Canada 6-7:15 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 29 Skate Canada 7:30-9:30 p.m. Peacock
Oct. 30 Skate Canada Noon-1:30 p.m. NBC*
Nov. 4 Internationaux de France 8-9:30 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 4 Internationaux de France 10-11:20 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 4 Internationaux de France 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 4 Internationaux de France 1:45-3 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 5 Internationaux de France 8-10 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 5 Internationaux de France 10:10-11:45 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 5 Internationaux de France Noon-2 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 5 Internationaux de France 2:10-3 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 6 Internationaux de France 10 a.m.-Noon E!*
Nov. 12 Internationaux de France 2:30-4 p.m. NBC*
Nov. 11 Grand Prix: England 1-2:05 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 11 Grand Prix: England 2:25-4 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 12 Grand Prix: England 8:45-10 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 12 Grand Prix: England 10:20 a.m.-Noon Peacock
Nov. 12 Grand Prix: England 1:30-2:50 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 12 Grand Prix: England 3-5 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 13 Grand Prix: England 6:15-8:05 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 13 Grand Prix: England 8:20-10 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 13 Grand Prix: England 4-6 p.m. NBC*
Nov. 17 NHK Trophy 10:30-11:40 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 18 NHK Trophy 12:15-1:50 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 18 NHK Trophy 2:15-3:35 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 18 NHK Trophy 5-6:35 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 18 NHK Trophy 10-11:20 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 19 NHK Trophy 11:50 p.m.-1:40 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 19 NHK Trophy 2:50-4:25 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 19 NHK Trophy 5:30-7:20 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 20 NHK Trophy 4-6 p.m. NBC*
Nov. 25 Grand Prix: Finland 6-7:05 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 25 Grand Prix: Finland 7:50-9:20 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 25 Grand Prix: Finland 10:45 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 26 Grand Prix: Finland 12:40-2 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 26 Grand Prix: Finland 5:45-7:05 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 26 Grand Prix: Finland 7:20-9:10 a.m. Peacock
Nov. 27 Grand Prix: Finland 11:15 a.m.-1:05 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 27 Grand Prix: Finland 1:25-3 p.m. Peacock
Nov. 27 Grand Prix: Finland 4-6 p.m. NBC*
Dec. 8 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 1:15-2:15 p.m. Peacock
Dec. 8 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 2:30-3:30 p.m. Peacock
Dec. 9 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Peacock
Dec. 9 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 1:45-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Dec. 9 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 3-4 p.m. Peacock
Dec. 10 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 7:30-8:30 a.m. Peacock
Dec. 10 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 6:30-7:30 a.m. E!*
Dec. 10 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 7:30-8:30 a.m. E!
Dec. 10 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 8:30-9:30 a.m. E!*
Dec. 10 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 1:40-2:40 p.m. Peacock
Dec. 10 Grand Prix Final (Torino) 3-4 p.m. Peacock
Dec. 11 Grand Prix: Final (Torino) 3:30-6 p.m. NBC*
Jan. 26 U.S. Championships 7-9 p.m. USA Network
Jan. 26 U.S. Championships 9:30 p.m.-Midnight Peacock
Jan. 26 U.S. Championships 10 p.m.-Midnight USA Network
Jan. 27 U.S. Championships 4:30-7 p.m. Peacock
Jan. 27 U.S. Championships 5-7 p.m. USA Network
Jan. 27 U.S. Championships 8-11 p.m. NBC
Jan. 28 U.S. Championships 2:30-4:30 p.m. NBC
Jan. 28 U.S. Championships 5-7 p.m. Peacock
Jan. 28 U.S. Championships 7-8 p.m. Peacock
Jan. 28 U.S. Championships 8-10 p.m. USA Network
Jan. 29 U.S. Championships 2:15-6 p.m. Peacock
Jan. 29 U.S. Championships 3-6 p.m. NBC
Feb. 5 U.S. Championships 4-6 p.m. NBC*
Jan. 25 European Championships 5:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock
Jan. 25 European Championships 10:20 a.m.-4 p.m. Peacock
Jan. 25 European Championships 2-4 p.m. E!
Jan. 26 European Championships 5-11 a.m. Peacock
Jan. 26 European Championships 9-11 a.m. E!
Jan. 26 European Championships Noon-3 p.m. Peacock
Jan. 27 European Championships 5-10 a.m. Peacock
Jan. 27 European Championships 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Peacock
Jan. 27 European Championships 1-3 p.m. E!
Jan. 28 European Championships 6-10 a.m. Peacock
Jan. 28 European Championships 8-10 a.m. E!
Jan. 28 European Championships 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Peacock
Feb. 5 European Championships 2-4 p.m. NBC*
Feb. 9 Four Continents Championships 2-6 p.m. Peacock
Feb. 9 Four Continents Championships 8 p.m.-Midnight Peacock
Feb. 10 Four Continents Championships 8 a.m.-Noon USA Network*
Feb. 10 Four Continents Championships 1:15-3:30 p.m. Peacock
Feb. 10 Four Continents Championships 4:25-7 p.m. Peacock
Feb. 10 Four Continents Championships 8 p.m.-Midnight Peacock
Feb. 11 Four Continents Championships Noon-2 p.m. E!*
Feb. 11 Four Continents Championships 4:25-7 p.m. Peacock
Feb. 11 Four Continents Championships 8 p.m.-Midnight Peacock
Feb. 12 Four Continents Championships 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. E!*
Feb. 12 Four Continents Championships 3-6 p.m. Peacock
Feb. 19 Four Continents Championships Noon-2 p.m. NBC*
Mar. 21 World Championships 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 22 World Championships 1:45-8 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 22 World Championships 6-8 a.m. USA Network
Mar. 22 World Championships 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 23 World Championships 1:45-8 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 23 World Championships 6-8 a.m. USA Network
Mar. 23 World Championships 8-10 a.m. USA Network*
Mar. 23 World Championships 9:45 p.m.-3:15 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 24 World Championships 4:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 24 World Championships 6:30-8:30 a.m. USA Network
Mar. 24 World Championships 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 25 World Championships 4:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 25 World Championships 6:30-8:30 a.m. Peacock
Mar. 25 World Championships 8-10 p.m. NBC*
Apr. 9 World Championships 3-6 p.m. NBC*
Apr. 4 World Synchronized Skating Championships Noon-2 p.m. USA Network*
*taped coverage