What You Need To Know About Olivia Pichardo, The First Woman In D1 Baseball

Olivia Pichardo is truly living the dream. In November, the talented athlete became the very first woman in the history of baseball to make the roster of a NCAA Division I team, as she was confirmed for Brown University's team. "It was definitely a surreal moment for me because it's something that I've wanted since eighth grade," Pichardo, who made the team at just 18 years old, admitted of finding out she'd made history, per Brown. "It's kind of crazy to know that I'm living out my dream right now and my ideal college experience that I've always wanted, so that's really cool," she added, noting how excited she was to see more gender equality in the sport. "It's really paving the way for other girls in the next generation to also have these goals that they want to achieve and dream big and know that they can do it."

But just who is the Queens, New York, native — who also plays on the USA Baseball Women's National Team – who's making very impressive history? This is what you need to know about Olivia Pichardo.

Olivia Pichardo wasn't good at baseball when she first started

As you'd probably expect from someone at Olivia Pichardo's level, sport is nothing new to this history making athlete. In fact, Picardo has pretty much always has a passion for the game, as her love for baseball began when she was just 5-years-old. Only, it didn't exactly start smoothly. As Pichardo revealed on her website, there were no slots available for her to play that year, so she instead played lob ball. The year after that, she started to learn pitching skills and instantly fell in love with (despite admitting she wasn't exactly super skilled on her first attempt). She worked on her skills with her dad, and, by the time she was 8, she started playing baseball properly. "The boys were giddy with excitement knowing they were facing a girl," she shared, admitting she still wasn't the most skilled — but that just spurred her on. "I just kept playing and working harder," she said.

It was when she graduated to middle school that she realized the sport could turn into a career, and then set her sights on playing into her college years, per Brown. Speaking of the moment she found out she'd made it into the Brown University team, she shared, "It's something that I've wanted since eighth grade. It's kind of crazy to know that I'm living out my dream right now and my ideal college experience that I've always wanted, so that's really cool."

Olivia Pichardo faced plenty of opposition

Of course, breaking the glass ceiling sadly usually doesn't come without some opposition. While baseball has always been Olivia Pichardo's passion, she's admitted that she's repeatedly been told she should maybe leave the sport behind and instead consider playing softball, which has traditionally been more accessible to female athletes. But that suggestion always got a firm no from this talented star. "Every time I progress to the next level, more and more people would ask me about maybe switching to softball. There's no shade towards softball, but it's just that I've never played softball before," she told NPR in November.

Her passion for baseball is more than clear across her social media accounts, as pretty much every upload to Pichardo's Twitter and Instagram pages show her playing the game she's so passionate about. In fact, like many athletes, Pichardo didn't even let the coronavirus pandemic slow her down. An Instagram upload shared in April 2020 made up of two videos, she could be seen making some serious slogs while in lockdown. "Quarantine," she captioned the upload, alongside a baseball emoji.

Olivia Pichardo is a lifelong Mets fan

Growing up in Queens, it's probably no surprise to hear that Olivia Pichardo is a lifelong fan of The New York Mets and is a big fan of Jacob deGrom, who she told MLB is her very favorite player. The talented athlete had quite the exciting time then back in August when she was given the opportunity to throw the ceremonial first pitch during the Mets' Women's Day. "I was so nervous. I was shaking a little bit. [It was] a much bigger crowd than I expected it to be," Pichardo told The Brown Daily Herald in November of the honor.

But when she's not doing super exciting things related to baseball, Pichardo is proving she's a well-rounded individual. In February 2020, she took a trip to Senegal where she mixed business with pleasure and did some charity work. Pichardo shared photos and video to Instagram, while revealing on her website that her trip was all about helping others as she volunteered at an orphanage, looked around schools, and visited the U.S. embassy. "We discussed the role of an embassy from economic exchange, terrorism, security to the role of USAID, Peace Corps, and Foreign service officers around the world," she explained.