Hope Solo, Team USA’s goalkeeper, saved shot after shot on goal to preserve the miniscule USA lead in the Olympic women’s soccer gold medal match, won by the Americans, 2-1. As Abby Wambach, Team USA’s superstar, declared after the final whistle, “Hope saved the day literally five times.”
In sports parlance we’d say that Solo broke the hearts of the Japanese team. But remarkably hearts weren’t broken. As far as the losing Japanese women were concerned, losing isn’t like death, as the late great football coach, George Allen, famously said. And the Japanese are the defending World’s Champions, not losers. Both sides were joyful at having had the chance to play in the gold medal game.
The photo of three of the Japanese players smiling with their silver medals and embracing Hope Solo, with her gold, is the picture of sportsmanship, too rare in today’s big-money sports but refreshingly present in Olympic women’s soccer.
Photo Copyright (c) 2012 Hope Solo