Washington People: Michelle Venturella

(Video by Tom Malkowicz/Washington University)

“It wasn’t about winning the gold,” said Michelle Venturella, head softball coach at Washington University in St. Louis. “It was the whole journey leading up to it.”

Venturella, 45, was a sophomore catcher at Indiana University when she heard about tryouts for what would be the first U.S. Olympic softball team. For the next two years, she trained with the best athletes in the nation, making the 1996 team as an alternate.

Four years later, the South Holland, Ill., native made the team as a starter and was on the field in Sydney in 2000 when the team won its second gold medal — a moment she’ll never forget.

Venturella came to Washington University in 2017. She strives to create a supportive and challenging environment for the athletes. “It was my college coach who gave me a push to try out for the Olympic team,” she said. “I had the right people at every step cheering me on.”

Whatever her students want to pursue, Venturella wants to be there to help give them that same push that led to her own success. “There wasn’t a moment I thought I could do it until I was there,” she said. “I learned that if you go out every day and do the best job you can with the opportunities you have been given, you might end up surprising yourself. Don’t let your own limitations hold you back. Be present and trust in the process.”

Read the full story from Washington Magazine.

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