Olivia Madkins Makes History as Columbia University’s First Black Softball Player


April 18, 2024

History is being made with each swing of a bat, each catch in the outfield, and each cheer from the stands!

At 18, Olivia Madkins became the first Black player on Columbia University’s softball team, Andscape reports. This is a feat that celebrates her talent and opens doors for others.

Madkins’ love for softball started young. Every swing and dive on the field fueled her passion. But it was Columbia’s offer from her dream school that made her realize the impact she could have.


“Being the first Black player was a shock,” Madkins remembers. “But Columbia was my choice, a chance to make a difference and inspire my community.”

Leaving Los Angeles for the East Coast wasn’t easy. Balancing Division I athletics and academics at Columbia is tough, but Madkins is determined. A 2021 recruiting camp solidified her decision.

“The coaches, the environment, it just clicked,” Madkins says. “Columbia felt like home.”


Breaking barriers is just part of Madkins’ story. She’s paving the way for future Black athletes. As a freshman outfielder and sociology major, she knows the power of seeing someone who looks like you succeed.

“Seeing Black girls play at the highest level makes you want to be there too,” Madkins explains. “I want to inspire others, show them they belong.”


Her talent shines on the field, but her positive spirit and teamwork make her a valuable teammate. It’s something her coach sees too.

“Columbia is a melting pot, but our program wasn’t reflecting that,” Coach Teagues says. “Liv brings positivity and a strong sense of team. We need players like her.”

Family plays a big role in Madkins’ journey. Inspired by her father, a former NBA player, she shares his passion and drive. Her parents’ unwavering support fuels her on and off the field.


“My dad pushes me to be strong and represent our community well,” Madkins shares. “He’s my rock.”

As Madkins excels, her legacy grows. With two more African American softball players joining Columbia soon, she’s building a more inclusive program.

“I want them to have an amazing experience,” Madkins says. “I’m here to help make them feel comfortable.”


With every swing and sprint, Olivia Madkins isn’t just playing – she’s rewriting history. She’s showing future Black athletes a path paved with talent, strength, and the magic of Black excellence.

For young Black girls everywhere, Olivia Madkins is a shining example of what’s possible when you dare to dream and refuse to be limited by the expectations of others.

Cover photo: Olivia Madkins Makes History as Columbia University’s First Black Softball Player/ Photo Credit: Columbia Athletics


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