Leah Marie O’Brien-Amico (born September 9, 1974 in Garden Grove, California) is a former All-American, left-handed-hitting softball player from Chino, California. O’Brien-Amico is best known for playing for the Arizona Wildcats (1993–1997, winning three National Championships) and earning gold medals at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
Leah O’Brien-Amico interviewed on The Fastpitch TV Show
Produced By Gary Leland
Leah Answers My 10 Questions.
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. 6 years old.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. My parents- my dad took me to pitching lessons and always worked with me, and my mom was always my biggest fan and support system.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I try to stay busy on game day and my focus starts when I head to the field. I like to be around my teammates and I liked to get a good feeling in the cages or on soft toss for hitting and take my time warming up. When the game started, all the work was put in and it was time to perform.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. I like giving hitting lessons, and I love to speak. I am passionate about encouraging others to be their very best. I thrived when I felt like coaches/teachers/others believed in me and I am a big believer that most people gain confidence through the belief of others.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. Most of all my love and passion for the game. Without that, my talent would have never taken me to the Olympic level. Also, the coaches I played for knew the fundamentals and were very positive. My parents commitment to support me in what I was driven is another reason for my success. And finally, my teammates are what helped me to always be better- I always wanted to succeed for the benefit of the team.
Q. Do you have any routines are superstitions that you implement regularly?
A. Listening to music if we had a bus ride and staying near teammates. It always kept me loose and ready to go when I was near my team.
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. Winning Gold all 3 times- the final inning of each game stands out to me and also getting the winning RBI and only hit off Lisa Fernandez in 1993 Women’s College World Series Championship Game
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A.The mental game is what makes the difference between good and great. Everybody who reached the elite level had a confidence and mental game that made the difference. If you believe you are the best, you will play like you are the best. The most important times to be mentally strong are in the toughest situations. When you see athletes consistently be clutch- it will be the mental game that made the difference.
Q. If you could do anything else in the world as a profession, what would it be and why?
A. I already do it at times- I am speaker- and I share about my faith in Jesus. To me, it is the best job ever. At the end of the day, if you had your best day ever or your worst day ever on the field, it still doesn’t define who you are. If you have had a great life or the hardest life, if you have tons of money or no money at all, you always have a chance to follow Jesus and make Him the Lord of your life and you’ll have everything you need. I get to share that message and to me that is the best profession there is!
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. Losing 3 straight games in the 2000 Olympics and coming back to win the Gold Medal.
3-Time Olympic Gold Medalist (USA Softball: 1996, 2000, 2004)
2-Time World Champion
2-Time Pan-American Games Champion
3-Time NCAA National Champion (University of Arizona Softball)
Named in 2006 to the NCAA Division I Softball 25th Anniversary Team
Holds the Women’s College World Series Record for batting average in a single tournament,
hitting .750 (9 for 12) in 1994
Three-time First-Team NFCA All-American (1994, 1995, 1997)
Three-time First-Team Academic All-American
Career numbers – .428 batting average, 338 hits, 53 doubles, five triples, seven home runs and 181 RBI
Named the 1997 NCAA Woman of The Year for the state of Arizona
Athletes In Action Women’s Board of Directors
Inducted into the Athletes In Action Hall of Faith (2008)
Named #44 Best Athlete in California High School of all time
**Married to Tommy Amico and mother of 3 boys, Jake, Drew and Luke
Sports Devotional Bible by Zondervan
One Message of Victory Sports New Testament
Magazines: Brio (Cover), Sports Spectrum, Victory, Cover of Sports Illustrated with
2004 Olympic Gold Medal Softball Team
Back of Golden Crispix Cereal Box (2000)
Hit-A-Way Instructional Tool
Featured in video for Youth Night for Billy Graham LA Crusade (2004)
Athletes in Action Women’s Video: Passion and Power
How Do You Know He’s Real Devotional Book by Amy Hagberg
The Goal and the Glory by Josh Davis
A Book of Prayers: To The Heavens from the Stars by Chuck Spinner