When the sport of softball was eliminated from Olympic competition after the 2008 Games, the worldwide softball community grieved. After a 12-year sabbatical, the International Olympic Committee announced the sport would return for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is the most decorated program in the world, winning three consecutive Olympic Gold Medals (1996, 2000, 2004), eight Pan American Championships, and 10 World Championships. In World Championship play, the USA has amassed a lifetime record of 142–13 (USA Softball, 2017b). The purpose of this study was to explore how two of the most successful Olympic athletes in USA softball history used their innate talents and strengths in the way they approached their sport. Using a mixed-method, exploratory qualitative approach, the two Olympians were invited to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder® and asked to share their perceptions of the assessment and how it relates to their athletic experience. Although the Clifton StrengthsFinder® has been utilized by more than 16.3 million people across the world (Gallup Strengths Center, 2017), this is the first research study conducted to explore the potential similarities and differences in the Clifton StrengthsFinder® results of two Gold-medal Olympic athletes.
Robles is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA.
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