Good Sports: Merced's Bubba Nickles returns from Toyko Olympics

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Donning the red, white and blue while competing for Team USA at the Olympics is a pinnacle in sports most athletes dare not dream, but Madilyn "Bubba" Nickles is not your typical athlete.

The former Merced High standout was named the Gatorade National Player of the year following her senior season before going onto an All-American career at UCLA.

The slugger returns home after helping the US capture the silver medal in Tokyo.

"Playing in the Olympics was such an amazing experience, and just representing Merced was such a great opportunity to show the younger generation that it doesn't matter where you come from because you can get to the highest stage no matter where your hometown is," she said.

Since spectators were not allowed at this year's games because of COVID, her parents, Ted and Natalie, stayed behind to watch on TV.

Team USA set them up along with other Olympic families with watch parties in Orlando, Florida, as the team progressed through the tournament.

"They set us up at a resort and that's where we finished watching it with other softball parents," Ted said. "It was very exciting and an energetic atmosphere."

At 23 years old, Nickles is the youngest member of Team USA and just the third Olympian to ever come out of Merced High.

Nickles saw action in Game 2 against Canada and started against Australia, going 1 for 1 with a walk.

She hopes her performance will blaze a trail for generations to come.

"I hope that it really does inspire some younger athletes, and even just people from Merced and the Central Valley to reach for the stars, to just go for it," she said. "It was such an amazing opportunity."

While nothing has been finalized just yet, the City of Merced along with Merced High are working on celebrating Bubba and her run at the Olympics in the coming days.
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