Meet Jennie Finch, pitcher for the US Women’s Olympic Softball Team. She will represent the United States, the gold medal favorite, at the Olympics for the second time in her career this summer in Beijing. Read her biography and see photos and a video of her below.

Jennie Finch was just one of more then 400 American Olympians jammed into the White House’s formal East Room today as President Bush honored the athletes in a Rose Garden ceremony and will hold a dinner for them tonite.

“You will convey our nation’s most cherished values,” the president said. “As ambassadors of liberty, you will represent America’s love for freedom and our regard for human rights and human dignity … to other athletes and to the people of China.”

Bush beamed with pride at Team USA.

“We send you off with congratulations on the success you have already achieved, and on the accomplishments we know will be yours in Beijing,” he said. “We’re looking forward to rooting for you in Beijing.”

Jennie Finch will be cheered on in Beijing by her husband Minnesota Twins pitcher Casey Daigle (formerly of the Arizona Diamondbacks) and their two year old son, Ace Shane.

Sadly, Women’s Softball has been eliminated from the Olympics roster beginning 2012 with the Games in London. This cut is a big loss for female athletes in general, who have yet to obtain equal representation in the Olympic Games.

Jennie Finch Biography

Jennie Finch was born in La Mirada, California on September 3, 1980 so her age is 28.

She has been playing softball since she was five years old and has been pitching since she was eight. At La Mirada High School, Finch lettered four times in softball, and twice each in both basketball and volleyball (as a senior, she was the captain of all three sports). As a sophomore, she was an All-CIF Div. II choice in softball and an All-Suburban League selection, which was quite a great honor for her. Her dad, Doug Finch, was her first pitching coach. He is also the inventor of the Finch Windmill, an arm conditioning device that has been selling successfully for over 15 years.

Finch, who is one of the most recognized female athletes in the world, made her Olympic debut in Athens in 2004, finishing with a 2-0 record and a 0.00 ERA. In two starts, she threw eight innings, striking out 13 batters and allowing just one hit and one walk. The right-hander played in her first World Championship in 2002 and helped the U.S. win the gold medal. She posted a 2-0 record and 1.17 ERA while striking out 12 batters in 12 innings.

Before joining the national team, Finch had a terrific career at the University of Arizona where she led the team to the NCAA title as a junior by going 32-0, an NCAA record for victories in an undefeated season. She also holds the NCAA record for consecutive victories, with 60.

Finch usually strikes out the baseball players by using her 71 mph riseball that is equivalent to a fastball of nearly 100 mph in baseball, where the pitcher’s rubber is 17.5 feet farther away than in softball.

At 6-foot-1, she has hazel eyes, blond hair and a smile that make her look more like a runway model than a runaway Olympic gold medalist. People named Finch to the magazine’s 50-most-beautiful-people list and in an online ESPN poll, she was named the world’s “hottest” sports personality, easily exceeding often-Googled tennis beauty Anna Kournikova.

In 2004, she was offered a lucrative contract to appear nude for Playboy magazine, but declined the offer saying that she would “rather be a role model for young girls.” She once appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated not in a swimsuit but rather wearing a tank top and a mini skirt.

Jennie Finch married MLB pitcher Casey Daigle in 2005 and their son was born in 2006.

“Jennie Finch Talks about the Beijing Olympics” Video