I will always remember August 21, 2008 as the day US women's soccer made Olympic history. After a disappointing showing in the prior year's FIFA Women's World Cup, the American National Team wasn't anticipated to medal in the 2008 Beijing summer games.
Early loss leads to string of wins
Team USA lost 0-2 in their first preliminary game against Norway. I didn't watch the start of the tournament, because I didn't want to see us lose.
After their first round loss it was like someone flipped a switch. USA seemed to cruise from one victory to the next. I was teaching summer school, and was frustrated that I couldn't catch the matches on TV. As the competition heated up I began to wonder how far America's winning streak would go.
USA plays Brazil for Olympic gold
NBC broadcast the match at 6 a.m. I taped the game because I had to work, then spent the day avoiding random news casts and excited Olympics-driven conversations. I wanted to watch the game with fresh eyes. And what a game it was.
After a nail-biting 90 minutes with Brazil and the Unites States still tied at 0-0, I wouldn't even get up to go to the bathroom. I was transfixed, balancing on the edge of my seat. I must have sweated as much as the players waiting for the referee's whistle to start the extra time. Could the U.S. National team really pull off back-to-back gold medals?
A goal to remember
Then it happened, the shot heard around the world. Roughly five minutes into overtime, Carli Lloyd takes an unlikely shot on the Brazilian net and scores. I was up off the couch like a shot, dancing and screaming along with the American women.
August is scorching in Southern California, so my living room windows were wide open. The neighbors must have thought I was crazy. There was still over 20 minutes of overtime left. I settled down quickly, praying Brazil wouldn't stage a comeback.
Could Brazil even the score?
They tried. Brazil rallied in the second overtime period, but Hope Solo seemed unstoppable as she made save after incredulous save. When the final game whistle blew, the United States had won the game 1-0, and became the first back-to-back champions in women's Olympic soccer history.
- Carli Lloyd
- Olympic gold