Host City: Athina, Greece
Date Started: August 14, 2004
Date Finished: August 23, 2004
Participants: 118 (0 men and 118 women) from 8 countries
Youngest Participant: Chloe Kloezeman (18 years, 78 days)
Oldest Participant: Reika Utsugi (41 years, 75 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 44 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal
Softball at the 2004 Olympics was an unusual sport, due to the fact that the sport (and baseball) was virtually unknown in Greece. The venue was the Olympic Softball Centre and the Hellenikon Olympic Complex. No softball game has been played at the site since the 2004 Olympics ended, and the facility ended up in disrepair and virtually abandoned.
There were again eight teams, as in 1996 and 2000, who qualified as follows – host nation Greece; the top four teams from the 2002 World Championships (United States, Korea, Chinese Taipei, China); Australia from an Asian/Oceanian Qualifying Tournament; Italy from a European/African Qualifying Tournament; and Canada from the Pan American Qualifying Tournament. Greece competing was rather interesting as nobody in Greece played the sport, so the Greek team was mostly made up of American college players with Greek-American heritage.
The format was the same as in 1996 and 2000, with a round-robin tournament followed by a Page System play-off. In the Page System, there were two semi-finals. One semi-final matched the third- and fourth-placed teams, with the winner advancing to the final, and the loser being placed fourth. The other semi-final matched the first- and second-placed teams, with the winner advancing to the grand final, and the loser playing the winner of the first semi-final in the final. The winner of the final then advanced to the grand final, playing the winner of the second semi-final.
The United States won their third consecutive gold medal in the event, and it was their most dominant performance yet, outscoring their opponents 51-1. Shortly after the 2004 Olympics, possibly with some relation to this US-dominance, the IOC discontinued baseball and softball as Olympic Sports, and removed them from the Olympic Program after the 2008 Olympics.