Lockdown no worries for Olympics rookie

·2-min read

She's an Olympic rookie but the strange circumstances of the Tokyo Games are far from unfamiliar for Australian softballer Gabbie Plain.

The 22-year-old Sydneysider has spent most of the year playing across the United States in similar hotel lockdowns to what she is experiencing in Japan.

A pitcher with the University of Washington Huskies, Plain's college experience has conditioned her well to the situation at her maiden Olympics.

"When the masks came in, my team went fully into it, everyone in the sporting area at Washington was wearing masks, and we had to have COVID tests before all of our tournaments," Plain told AAP.

"Anytime we travelled we were essentially locked down into that hotel, going between the hotel and the fields and back again.

"We weren't allowed to go out or anything like that, so we were pretty restricted to our own little bubbles, whether we were at school or on the road.

"It definitely set me up well for this pre-training period and the Olympics. I've gotten very used to it over the last six months."

The Spirit, who start the first Olympic softball tournament since 2008 on Wednesday against the host nation, have barely played together since 2019 after successfully qualifying for Tokyo.

Plain, however, believes the 12-month delay to the Games has enabled her to become a better player and she's heading to Tokyo desperate to add to Australia's softball medal tally of one silver (2004) and three bronze (1996, 2000, 2008).

"When we were going through the trial process and COVID hadn't quite impacted too much, I was supposed to be jumping back and forth between Australia and America and was supposed to be the senior pitcher in my American team," said Plain, who earlier this year pitched the second perfect game of her US college career.

"I was doing a lot of that travelling and there was a lot of stress and it was affecting me quite a lot ... I didn't know quite how I was going to be able to get through all of the things that I had to get through in order to get to the Olympics at that point in time.

"The break allowed me to almost reset the year.

"It definitely helped me in the long run, it helped me refocus myself a little bit and just get myself back to ground zero."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting