|Olympic medal record|
|Competitor for Japan|
|Bronze||Athens 2004||Team Competition|
|Gold||Beijing 2008||Team Competition|
Yukiko Ueno (上野 由岐子 Ueno Yukiko?, born July 22, 1982 in Fukuoka City) is a Japanese softball pitcher for Renesas Takasaki and the Japanese national team, who holds a bronze and a gold medal from 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, respectively. She became the first pitcher ever to produce a perfect game at the Olympics, against China in Athens. With fastball which tops out at 121 km/h (75.19 mph), she is widely recognized as the fastest pitcher in women's softball.
Rivalry With the U.S.
In 2006 World Women's Softball Championship in Beijing, she shut out the U.S. team in the semifinal but was knocked out and lost the game in the final against the same U.S. team. In 2008 Summer Olympics, she again lost to the U.S. in the playoff allowing four runs in the tiebreak ninth inning, after shutting out the opponent until the previous inning. Yet she wins the final against the same U.S. by pitching her fifth complete game, allowing only one run in seven innings.
Perseverance at the 2008 Olympics
She pitched over 600 balls at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics in 4 days (413 in the last two days during which she completed three games). During the semi-final and final games of the softball event, which lasted for two days and included three games, Ueno pitched 28 innings against the United States and Australia, considered the two best lineups in the world. NBC commentator Rob Baird described Ueno's feat as "one of the most amazing pitching performances in recent memory."
The pronunciation of Ueno's surname was brought to the attention of comedy duo Hamish & Andy during the Olympics. This was due to the name being very similar to a stereotypical Australian or Strine nickname for Wayne, 'Wayno'. It also is pronounced exactly the same way to national baseball pitcher, Wayne Ough. The segment was included on their compilation album Unessential Listening.
- ABC "Beijing 2008 Softball"
- Softball Australia "Aussie Spirit go down to Japan in Canada Cup Final"