Former WKU Softball Alum Franklin wins Bronze Medal at 2020 Tokyo Olympics
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Hilltopper Softball graduate Larissa Franklin became the third-ever Olympic medalist in WKU Athletics’ history during the early hours of July 27, 2021, as she helped Team Canada win bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. A 2015 Western Kentucky University graduate, Franklin was also the program’s first-ever Olympic qualifier.
A native of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Franklin joins Bernd Herrman and Claire Donahue as the only former Hilltopper student-athletes to earn an Olympic medal. Herrman competed on The Hill in 1975 before earning bronze with West Germany at the 1976 Montreal Games in the 4×400-meter relay event on the track. Donahue earned gold with the Team USA 4×100-meter medley relay swimming unit at the 2012 London event.
Franklin patrolled center field and batted second for the Canadians throughout the team’s six Olympic contests.
In the bronze medal game against Mexico, Franklin would produce a pair of sacrifice hits and moved the winning run to third before the next batter would score her with a sac fly.
Across the Games, Franklin produced four hits, three RBI, two runs, one walk and a double for Team Canada.
Canada went 3-2 through pool play, falling to the eventual silver and gold medal teams, USA and Japan, in 1-0 decisions.
Softball returned to the Olympic Games after being left off at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Canada narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish the last time the sport appeared at Beijing 2008 and earned its first-ever softball medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Canada qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the 2019 WBSC Softball Americas Qualifier held in Surrey, B.C. by finishing in the top two of the 12-team event along with Mexico in late summer 2019.
Franklin played for WKU Softball during the 2015 campaign that saw the Hilltoppers clinch the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles. She was a First Team NFCA All-Region selection and earned a First Team All-Conference nod as well from the league. Additionally, during her season on The Hill, Franklin tied the program’s longest hitting streak at 15 games while posting the team’s second-best single-season batting average at .417. She notched 70 hits on the campaign while posting 22 multi-hit outings – the third most by a WKU player in a single season.