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Dejah Mulipola, Bubba Nickles Talk Olympics Delay, College Return

(Photo by Jade Hewitt/USA Softball)

When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Olympic organizers agreed to postpone the 2020 Summer Games due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, it meant that countless Olympic dreams would be put on hold.

For USA Softball players Dejah Mulipola and Bubba Nickles, who are two of the three players on Team USA with collegiate eligibility remaining, the decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics raised several questions.

See Softball America's full conversation with Mulipola and Nickles below.

Softball America: How are you feeling about the decision to postpone the Olympics?

Dejah Mulipola: Initially, I was kind of sad just because I knew that I would miss the team and the girls and all the training. To look at it in a positive light, though, we’ll have another year under our belts to get better and work as a team. I’ve been waiting my whole life to play in the Olympics, so another year isn’t too much for me.

Am I bummed? Yeah, because I was looking forward to it and looking forward to the tour being this summer, but another year won’t kill me.

Bubba Nickles: I’m just kind of realizing that this is the best thing that had to happen. The postponement of the Olympics was building up and I feel like it was a good decision based on the health and state of the nation, as well as athletes not being able to train.

A part of me was kind of surprised by how quickly the news came out. As far as the actual postponement, I kind of anticipated it. I was a little bit bummed and knew that all of my teammates would be bummed because we were just kind of getting on a role of getting to know each other and working together, and for it to all be stopped so quickly, it was kind of a little bit of a shock.

SA: Have you thought about what life will look like for you with school going forward?

DM (University of Arizona): Returning to Arizona is definitely on my radar. I plan on going back to school this coming fall, but with the tour being postponed now, I kind of have to wait and see what life will look like for me with both USA Softball and with Coach Candrea. I’m not too sure myself, but obviously I’ll go with what is best for both teams.

I do plan on going back to Arizona, but I hope it’s not when I’m like 28. I definitely want to return back to Tucson. I love it there and I want to graduate after playing another year of spring ball there.

BN (UCLA): For me, I honestly haven’t even decided anything yet. I really have just been going with what is happening right now and haven’t heard any official word from UCLA or USA Softball about it. It’s really up in the air for me, personally. But I definitely see myself playing with UCLA again. I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to play with all those girls. I love them to death and I want to be able to play my senior season and experience senior day and all the last things during your last year in college.

SA: Have you been able to lean on each other, as well as Rachel (Garcia), during this time since you are all in a similar boat?

DM: Rachel and Bubba have been my best friends on tour because we relate to each other very well. I’m just thankful I’m not in this boat by myself and that I have two other teammates who can help me navigate the way through it and be able to bounce ideas off of.

BN: Yeah, definitely. We communicated here and there about how we’re all doing mentally. Along with the scariness of not knowing what’s going on with the virus just in general, it’s also kind of scary that we don’t even really know what to anticipate for the Olympics. I definitely think the three of us see that we’re all in the same boat, which lightens the blow because we know we’re not alone.

SA: What will your training look like going forward?

DM: I was hoping to get back to Tucson to train with my college teammates, but everyone is already home for the summer. But I’ve always worked out with my dad, so I have him and teammates who live pretty close to me. I also have sisters who I can train with.

BN: Right now, I’m trying to just do at-home workouts since all the gyms are closed. As far as softball training, I’ll try to meet up with local girls as much as possible. If California opens up the possibility of being able to work in groups again, I can drive to Monica (Abbott) and Ali (Aguilar) and train with them. There’s definitely been some communication with my teammates who are more local about that, but it’s still a challenge with everything going on in the world right now.

kianna jones photo by unc athletics.jpg

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