She may not be competing at this year’s Summer Olympics in London, but Lisa Fernandez still has plenty of reason to celebrate…
The 41-year-old half-Cuban/half-Puerto Rican softball star, a three-time gold medalist, has been inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, along with her 2004 U.S. Softball Team.
Dubbed the “Real Dream Team” on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the 2004 Olympic Team went 9-0 in Athens, a record that included eight consecutive shutouts and four run-rule victories. Along with Fernandez, the team roster included Latina players Crystl Bustos and Jessica Mendoza, as well as the team’s Latino head coach Mike Candrea.
Fernandez won gold medals in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 games and is the only pitcher ever to appear in three Olympic finales.
She earned the save in the final game of the 1996 Olympics as the U.S. team beat China 3-1 for her inaugural softball Olympic gold medal.
The U.S. team took the silver medal, losing gold to Japan, in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
In 2005 the International Olympic Committee voted to drop softball along with baseball from the Olympic program leaving the U.S. with three gold medals and Japan with one.
Softball advocates are trying to get the sport back by 2020, it won’t be played at the London games later this month or the Rio de Janeiro games in 2016.
Fernandez led the University of California, Los Angeles to the National Championship in softball during the 1990 and ’92 seasons, the Bruins softball team were runner ups during the ’91 and ’93 seasons.
She was a first team All-American during her four collegiate years at UCLA.
She currently serves as an assistant coach at her alma mater.