Konnichiwa From Japan: Former Sabino softball standout Kelsey Harshman’s Diary from the Tokyo Olympics

Kelsey is front row center. (Team Canada)

My name is Kelsey Harshman, a proud member of the Canadian Softball Olympic Team! As the games get closer I am going to be journaling some pretty cool moments throughout my journey- stay tuned!


July 17, 2021: The day is finally here! Team Canada is headed to the Olympic Village. I won’t lie it’s pretty special to say that because after a full year postponement it sometimes felt like we were never going to make it.

We are leaving Anjo City. The people in Anjo are so special. We came here in 2018 before the World Championships so we were very excited to get back here. They have opened up their loving arms and hosted our pre-Olympic training camp. As we loaded the bus and did our final spin by the park, a sea of people have come out to wave us off on our next journey! Until next time Anjo!

A total of six hours later we pulled into the Olympic Village. The amount of detail that has gone into ensuring the safety for the athletes is incredible. Covid testing every day. Mandatory masks. Sanitizer EVERYWHERE! We rolled over to the Canada House and got our room assignments. I am rooming with Victoria Hayward and we have got the corner suite! I have to give Victoria some love because I would not be here without her guidance and amazing friendship! Love you, Vic! I won’t be biased but it’s the best room in the house. All our other roommates are super jealous of our view of the water. We are split up between two apartment styled rooms. Eight girls in one and seven in the other.

We are rolling out to dinner and the souvenir shop to get some memorabilia. Until tomorrow!

July 18, 2021: Good morning from the village! We have a jam packed day today but of course we are starting out with an awesome breakfast from the dining hall. I had some eggs, bacon, potatoes and fruit. One of my favorite things about being in Japan is how fresh the fruit is! When you get to the dining hall you sanitize and put on plastic gloves before going through all the different stations for food. Safety first!

After breakfast we headed to our Olympic fitting where we get our official gear in a giant suitcase. Gear day is one of the best days as an athlete. I always say, “It’s like Christmas morning.” My favorite part about all the gear is seeing the Olympic Rings next to the maple leaf, a dream come true!

Next up, we headed to practice! If I am being honest it was the most excited I have ever been to go to practice. Our first time seeing and playing in the stadium we will play the games in! My first thoughts were, WOW! I had never stood in a stadium with so many seats and the lights so bright. 90 minutes later, our first practice complete and one of our best yet.

When we got back to the Village we had 45 minutes to pack our things for the next day as we are traveling to Fukushima. That is where the first two games will be played before we head back to Tokyo to finish the tournament. Off to packing.. until tomorrow!

July 19, 2021: It’s travel day! We are on the 10:36 am train out of the Tokyo Station. A quick breakfast before we head out. Walking to the dining hall through the village and seeing so many countries is definitely one of the coolest parts about being here. Everyone has been very friendly!

Nothing like a big bowl of cereal before a travel day. After breakfast we walked to the bus area where we load up the bus and head for the train station. Of course, when we get to the station there is a sea of people helping us get through the station and onto the train. We took an extra special train called the “Bullet Train.” These trains can travel up to 200 mph but we maxed out at 175 mph due to the route.

A little under two hours and we arrived in Fukushima! A delicious lunch was waiting for us as we arrived at the hotel and then right in a little pre-practice nap. Then we headed out to get some swings and defense in at the venue where softball will open these Olympic Games! Seeing these venues is amazing because softball hasn’t been in the Olympics since 2008. To see the detail and pride that went into getting these stadiums ready is a real treat to welcome softball back!

Practice is DONEZO! As we head back to the hotel and get ready for some scouting before the big day!

T-Minus 2 days!
Until tomorrow…. GO CANADA!

Kelsey Harshman (Jenkins) was a standout softball and soccer player at Sabino before she went on to star for Wisconsin where she earned multiple recognitions:

Three-time Academic All-Big Ten (2016, 2017, 2018)
First three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection in program history
2017 All-Big Ten Defensive Team
NCAA Tournament All-Region Team
NFCA Great Lake All-Region second team (2017, 2018)
First freshman in UW history to be named First-team All-Big Ten (2015)
2016 Best Offense Award (UW Coaches)
2015 Canadian Junior Women’s National Team

Besides multiple appearance for Canada, Harshman also played for the Canadian Wild of the NPF and she was part of Athletes Unlimited.

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