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Physical therapist from Orange gets the chance of making the Olympics with USA Baseball team

ORANGE -- From your everyday physical therapy patient to some of the world's top tier athletes, Jim Ronai has worked with them all.

Ronai Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine is more than just rehab for folks like you and me or working with your typical high school athlete. Ronai made a name for himself on the biggest stage in athletics.

"I've been involved with Olympic athletes for quite a while," said Ronai. "I spent the better part of 10 years working for USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation."

Ronai is also on the coaching staff for several Yale athletic teams, not to mention he has trained some of the best of the best in the winter world as well.

"I was in the 2002 winter games Salt Lake City with bobsled and skeleton, and helped some of the other teams," said Ronai. "Then repeated in 2006, which was Turin, Italy."

Now, Ronai's dreams of Olympic success are a potential reality once again.

Ronai was recently brought on to the coaching staff for Team USA baseball, a team that is hoping to make one of the six sacred spots for the next Olympic Games.

"They reached out to me and said, 'Hey, we have an opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,'" said Ronai. "I jumped on the opportunity, and a couple of months later, I jumped on a plane."

Ronai just recently returned from a training camp and first-round qualifier for the Olympics.

"A lot of these guys have never experienced baseball on that international level," said Ronai. "Many of them are from AA or AAA, are free agents in the big leagues, so they've certainly played on big stages before. But, not on the world stage like this. So, I was able to bring some of that prior Olympic experience to my current experience with USA baseball."

The team is now playing a qualifier tournament in Japan, where a win would secure a spot at the Olympics.

"There are six teams in that qualifier who have moved on from various pools around the world," said Ronai.

All the while, Ronai is the only Connecticut member on the team.

"I'm a lifelong resident of Connecticut... and I'm proud to represent Connecticut," said Ronai. "We don't have any players from the team from Connecticut. We've got players from all over the country, and it's nice to have somebody from this great state to represent us on a national level and hopefully on an Olympic level when we qualify."

The team will know if they have made the Olympics on November 17th.

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