Samsung Chat Series: Jessica Mendoza
Jessica Mendoza (1:06 PM)
Hi everyone, I'm really excited to talk to you, I want to thank you all for taking the time to ask questions and participate in this Samsung Chat series...Ironically I just bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 last week!
Ryan (Via Samsung)
What is it like to represent your country on a global stage?
Jessica Mendoza (1:08 PM)
It is like nothing else I have experienced as an athlete. To be able to have "USA" across your chest, and know that you are representing more than your sport, more than your hometown, more than the school you went to, that you're representing a country that you love, is what makes the Olympics the best sporting event ever.
Kelsey Elise (Via Samsung)
What 2012 Olympic events or athletes are you most excited to watch?
Jessica Mendoza (1:11 PM)
I'm really excited to see Lolo Jones. Her story about not being on the radar, and then going into LSU -- is kind of the American dream story. Everything about her in 2008 -- being milliseconds away from a medal and then falling -- the way she handled it. She was so poised. I truly believe she will win gold at these Olympics, and the world is watching. I'm also really excited to watch women's boxing in the Olympics for the first time, I think it's long overdue. It will be cool to see history in the making in these Olympics.
Samantha (AZ) (Via Samsung)
what advice would you give first-time Olympians about the competition and experience?
Jessica Mendoza (1:14 PM)
I think every athlete that has made it to the Olympics knows how to compete. The biggest challenge is to handle the emotion that the Olympics bring while taking it all in. Treat it like "this is what you've done a million times." Talk to other athletes, go see other sports. Try to find a balance between taking it all in, away from your sport, but then shutting it all out when you take the field, or the court.
MK (Via Samsung)
What are your favorite sports teams/athletes to watch?
Jessica Mendoza (1:17 PM)
I love watching play-offs of any kind; when backs are against the wall -- March Madness, MLB playoffs etc. I like watching teams and players when it's all on the line. I'm a fan of the moments, more than a specific team.
Jesse456 (Via Samsung)
at what point in your life did you realize you could make a living as a softball player?
Jessica Mendoza (1:19 PM)
Probably after the first Olympics I played in, in 2004. Until that time, I was just out of college and thought "I have to get a job after this whole Olympics thing is over." After the Olympics I was surprised by the amount of sponsors and the support of the sport. My eyes were opened to a lot of different way to make a living within Softball.
Justin Washington (Via Samsung)
What do you think about Baseball and Softball being dropped from the Summer Olympics?
Jessica Mendoza (1:22 PM)
I think it is absolutely heartbreaking. I think it shows some of the ignorance of IOC.The sport of softball shows what the Olympics is all about. All these athletes strive to be able to compete on the highest level, and now that opportunity is not there. I think it was disappointing that the IOC decided to scrap softball without really doing their homework.
jason johnson (Via Samsung)
Are you Team Phelps or Team Lochte?
Jessica Mendoza (1:24 PM)
I would say Team Lochte just because I like to see the diversity of the sport. When you see someone like Phelps dominate the way he does, it's a beautiful thing, but it's also exciting to see new faces. It makes the sport of swimming not so predictable.
MD (Via Samsung)
Phelps and Bolt were arguable the faces of the last games, who do you think will have this honor this time around?
Jessica Mendoza (1:27 PM)
I think Ryan Lochte is that new face that everyone's already looking at. Everyone is already watching, and will be to see if he can beat Michael Phelps. The cool thing about the Olympics is that you can't predict who the stars are going to be, that's why I am going to watch.
Chelsea Hubert (Via Samsung)
Growing up, who were your biggest role models? Are they the same now?
Jessica Mendoza (1:34 PM)
Yes, I've just added as I've grown up. When I was young I remember my parents were big role models, and the shortstop on the local varsity softball team. It's important, especially being young, to have role models that you can ACTUALLY talk to and watch succeed, not necessarily the poster athlete. As I've gotten older I have added more:Dot Richardson because she went to school, became a doctor, and STILL won 2 gold medals. She did it all. Julie Foudy because she is more than an athlete. When I met her she was on the hill talking to senators. It opened my eyes to the ability to use chances we have as athletes, to help grow the sport for the future. And Billie Jean King. She represents someone that no matter how famous she got, she was still paying it forward.
Brenda (Nashville, Tennessee) [via mobile]
Are you grooming your son into playing baseball?
Jessica Mendoza (1:37 PM)
Well we started at about 18 months hitting off a tee. He comes to practice with me a lot and see me hit left handed, then he picks up his bat and swings left. I think he might be a lefty hitter. He has his own bat and his own glove, and we have practices. I was just playing catch with him the other day. So, I guess the answer would be "Yes".
Mitch, TX [via mobile]
What is the moment like when you're on the podium receiving the gold medal?
Jessica Mendoza (1:40 PM)
it's the most incredible feeling you could ever feel as an athlete, as a person, as a fan. I played the sport of softball for over two decades, and the passion for the sport I play, doesn't even compare to the passion I have for the country that I love. It's a culmination of all the hard work, pride, and emotion. When they raise that flag, and play that anthem that you've heard a thousand times before, it's an emotional moment standing there with that medal around your neck.
Alexandra Mitchell (Via Samsung)
What is your best Olympic memory?
Jessica Mendoza (1:44 PM)
Besides winning the gold, it would be the dining area at the Olympic village. Every athlete, there are almost 10,000, eats in the same place. You can basically travel the world through this one dining area. You can get food from any area of the world, but you can also sit down and talk with athletes from every part of the world. I remember sitting down with athletes from Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt -- being able to travel to those countries is not something that you can always do. I love that the Olympics has the ability to bring people together in that special way. That's what's makes the Olympics so unique; it puts everything into perspective.
Rachel S., Omaha [via mobile]
Do you still work out regularly now that you're done playing? Your arms look jacked on TV!
Jessica Mendoza (1:47 PM)
Well, I'm not done playing. I still play in our nation Pro Fast Pitch league. I play for the USSSA PRIDE. I do work out regularly because I am in the midst of my season. Even when I am done playing, I will still work out. I am the type of person that always has to be active in some way. But don't retire me yet! I'm still playing.
james henderson, ne (Via Samsung)
Do you still feel disappointment over not winning the gold in 2008?
Jessica Mendoza (1:48 PM)
Yes. After winning the gold in 2004 and knowing that we were a better team in 2008, it's hard to lose not only the last game of the Olympics, but what could be probably the last time that softball was ever in the Olympics.
kevin (Via Samsung)
Are you friendly with any of the current crop of American athletes in London?
Jessica Mendoza (1:50 PM)
Yes! If softball were still in the Olympics, I'd be there. A lot of the soccer player, and other athletes that are there, are the same people that were there with me in 2008. It's sad to not be able to compete and be there with them.
Marissa (WV) [via mobile]
At what age did you start playing softball?
Jessica Mendoza (1:51 PM)
I started playing baseball at age six and switched to softball at age eight.
Matt Chidester [via mobile]
What advice do you have for girls that have the potential to play at the hightest level, such as team USA, but don't go to a big school like UCLA or Alabama?
Jessica Mendoza (1:54 PM)
Look up Sam Fischer, she is one of the leading hitters on team USA and she went to Loyola Marymount. No one knew who she was, but she made a name for herself by just standing out. Not only was she excited to be at the TEAM USA tryouts, but she played her heart out, and she made it. You don't have to go to a big school, but you have to find a way to stand out. Don't be that athlete that is trying to fit in, but work hard to set yourself apart from everyone else.
cole (Via Samsung)
Where do you keep your medals?
Jessica Mendoza (1:56 PM)
They used to be in my sock drawer, but now we have them locked up in a much safer place. They come out a lot when I am around kids, so I can show the next generation. To me medals are meant to be shared; I love putting them around other people's necks, not just my own.
Jessica Mendoza (2:05 PM)
Thank you, everyone for taking the time to ask me questions! It was cool to be able to talk to everybody, especially with the Olympics starting tomorrow, it's so much fun to be able to reminisce and talk about who to watch in the upcoming Olympics. Thank you, Samsung and ESPN for making this happen!