Olympian shares golden memories

Utilizing the softball and baseball fields as the backdrop for publicity photography for Coca-Cola and IGA Supermarkets, gold medalist Julie Smith was on campus Tuesday. Smith plays for the U.S. national softball team that won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. / photo by Heather Morales
Utilizing the softball and baseball fields as the backdrop for publicity photography for Coca-Cola and IGA Supermarkets, gold medalist Julie Smith was on campus Tuesday. Smith plays for the U.S. national softball team that won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. / photo by Heather Morales

by Ryan Sones
Staff Writer

Olympic gold medalist for the women’s national softball team, Julie Smith was at the University of La Verne Tuesday morning, participating in an endorsement photo shoot for Coca-Cola and the International Grocery Association (IGA).

“It’s a feeling words can’t express,” said the 26-year-old on winning the gold. “For it to become a reality after being a dream of mine for so many years, it was rewarding, inspirational, spiritual, and most of all a humbling experience.”

Sophomore outfielder for the women’s softball team, Lindsey Weber said, “She [Smith] was really friendly and easy to talk to. She seemed like a regular person, and I mean that you would assume someone of her stature would be egotistical, but in fact she was really down to earth. Her achievements have not changed her as a person.”

Her goals include continuing her softball career, 20 years at this point and winning another gold in Sydney, Australia, host of the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Smith said, “The moment I remember most was as soon as the gold was placed around my neck; I looked up and saw my mom, and there is nothing that I would love more than the chance to experience it again.”

Smith, a 1986 Charter Oak High School graduate, and a 1990 graduate from Fresno State, owns her own company, JMS Ultimate Fastpitch, and is currently still a member of the U.S. National Softball team that starts play again this summer.

ULV was selected for the shoot because of the hometown feel of the Ben Hines Field dugout, which supported the theme of the shoot.

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