Laura Kay Berg (born January 6, 1975 in Santa Fe Springs, California) played the position of center fielder. She is one of only four women to have won four Olympic medals in softball, having won a medal at every Olympics the sport was contested. Berg is head coach of the Oregon State Beavers and former collegiate 4-time All-American softball player at the position of center fielder from Santa Fe Springs, California. She played for the Fresno State Bulldogs from 1994–1998 where she was a Women’s College World Series National Champion. She is one of only four women to have won four Olympic medals in softball, having won a medal at every Olympics the sport was contested. She owns offense records at Fresno State and is second all-time in NCAA Division I career hits and at-bats.
Laura Berg interviewed on The Fastpitch TV Show
Produced By Gary Leland
Laura Answers My 10 Questions.
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. I was 6 when I first started playing.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. There were several special people who helped me become a great. My father who took me to the batting cages every Friday night. My twin sister, Randi, who always played catch with me and my travel ball coach Gary Haning.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I like to listen to music while I’m getting ready for a game. I usually start getting ready about two hours ahead of time. I don’t like to feel rushed.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. When not involved with softball I love to be with my family and love going to the movies.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. I feel my competitive nature has made me the ball player I am. I HATE to lose. Even in a friendly card game. Ha ha ha That has pushed me to work hard at everything I do.
Q. Do you have any routines are superstitions that you implement regularly?
A. My superstitions are never touching the chalk lines. Cleaning out the batters box before every at bat.
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. I have several great softball memories but the special one is being on the gold medal podium with my teammates hearing our national anthem and watching our flag rise to the top.
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A. The mental part of the game is the difference between a good player and a great player.
Q. If you could do anything else in the world as a profession, what would it be and why?
A. If there was something else I wanted to be as a profession would be an astronaut. They get to float in space and do some really cool stuff.
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. The best example I can give is I didn’t play a whole lot when I first started travel ball because of my size. I wanted to quit the team but my mom wouldn’t let me. She said there’s a lesson to learn from this. This made me work harder so I would never sit the bench again. I think it worked out fine.
Early life and collegiate career
Berg was born on January 6, 1975 to Harvey and Audrey Berg, along with her twin sister Randi Berg. Both Berg sisters enrolled at Fresno State and started for the school’s softball team. During their four years, Berg would be named an all-Western Athletic Conference and all-American each year, and would help Fresno State win the 1998 Women’s College World Series.
Berg would also join the United States national team in 1994, participating in the 1994 ISF Women’s World Championship, where the US team won the gold medal. Berg redshirted at Fresno State in 1996, the year that she won her first Olympic gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In 1998, she won her second gold medal at the world championships. At the 1999 Pan American Games Berg performed well in the gold medal effort, batting .375 for the tournament with fifteen hits. In the 2000 Summer Olympics Berg drove in the winning run in the eighth inning of the gold medal game.
From 2000 to 2003 she was an assistant coach at Fresno State, while continuing to participate at tournaments with the national team. She added gold medals at the 2002 World Championships and 2003 Pan American Games to her resume, batting .471 in the Pan-Americans. In the 2004 Athens Olympics she started eight of the nine games, batting .368, and held a perfect fielding average. She returned to Fresno State’s coaching staff for 2005 and 2006, and in 2006 won her fourth consecutive World Championship in Beijing. Berg’s four World Championship appearances is a record for the event.
In 2007 Berg returned to her third Pan American Games, where she won another gold medal, and was chosen to carry the U.S. flag during the closing ceremonies. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, she captured a silver medal with the U.S. team, the only time in Olympic history the United States did not win the gold medal.
Other awards and honors
2005 International Sports Invitational Champion
2001 Played for WPSL Gold professional team consisting of 2000 Olympians
WAC Champions- Fresno State
Second FSU player to record 100 or more hits in a season
Four-time NFCA All-American (three First-Team and one Third-Team)
Four-time NCAA All-Regional Team