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Women's Olympics Gold: USA vs BRAZIL [R]


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quote:Originally posted by SABuffalo786

Couldn't care less.

USA wins 2-1 in OT ...

Brazil could have taken this one but experience won out today ...

i think it's important to appreciate that the USA Women's Team put soccer on the map in North America and the team veterans, hamm & company, deserve the greatest respect as players, as athletes and as people ...

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From the portion I managed to see, approximately 10 minutes or so before Brazil initially tied the game in the second half to the conclusion of overtime the U.S. were fortunate.

Brazil dominated and hit two posts with shots that had Scurry <sp?> cleanly beaten.

Brazil played beautiful soccer with such skill and flare from many of the same women we came to "love to hate" thanks in part du to their antics at the U-19 Championship.

Some of the turns that both Marta and Christiane <sp?> mangaged under pressure were quite impressive.

All credit to the Yanks however as they took the one good chance they had from that corner and nodded it home despite the efforts of the Brazilian on the line.

Entertaining soccer...this from a guy who would usually prefer watch grass grow or perish the thought, mow the lawn, tha watch women's soccer.

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quote:Originally posted by bmac

Entertaining soccer...this from a guy who would usually prefer watch grass grow or perish the thought, mow the lawn, tha watch women's soccer.

Yeah, Brasil is the only women's team that's entertaining to watch. Bummer that they lost. They're so unlucky! The goal Brasil scored was so good that it should almost count for two. And the creator of that goal, Christina, is only 19.

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SOURCE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/08/27/EBGF38BQMS15.DTL

Soccer stars fomented a revolution when most of us weren't looking

C.W. Nevius

Friday, August 27, 2004

The gold and bronze medal finals last night at the Athens Olympic Games mark the end of American women's soccer. Not the team, of course, which will go on to play, probably at the highest level, for decades to come.

But this is the end of an era. Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett, among others, are either retiring or stepping back from the stage. Theirs was a quiet revolution. Odd that it changed everything, but did it in such a subtle, classy way that we can fool ourselves into thinking this was always so.

It wasn't.

In 1999 a group of us (male) sportswriters were standing in the press box at Stanford Stadium on the Fourth of July, looking down at 90-some-thousand fans who had paid to watch the American women's soccer team play Brazil in the World Cup semifinals. That the American women had reached this point in the Cup -- soccer's Super Bowl -- was a huge story, but we weren't watching the field.

Instead we were being lectured -- and I do mean lectured -- by a nationally known woman sports columnist. (Someone, by the way, I've always liked and admired.)

"We have completely missed this,'' she told us, gesturing out to the filled grandstands. "This is just the beginning.''

She went on to tell us that women's sports had finally reached parity with men. It wasn't about equal media coverage, it was going to be about equal ticket sales, equal television ratings, and equal endorsement money.

OK, so everyone got a little carried away. No, that didn't happen. But something did.

When I was in high school -- and how fondly I remember those stagecoach rides to class, where we would study about our president Warren G. Harding -- there were basically no sports for women. There was gymnastics, for a tiny hard core, and there was cheerleading. That was it. If you couldn't do a back flip off a mat or execute a perfect bob flip with your hair you were out of luck.

Now certainly there are lots of factors for the rise of women's sports, from Title IX to pushy parents. Hamm, Chastain, Foudy and Fawcett didn't change that. But they made it cool.

They were major stars on a powerhouse team that not only won, it stayed together and did so for years. At this year's Olympic Games they have been paid the highest possible compliment by the sporting press. They have been called over-rated, just like the Yankees or the 49ers in the 1980s. It doesn't get any better than that for an American sports team.

Out here in the suburbs little girls went from saying they liked to play soccer to saying they wanted to be Mia Hamm. Hamm, and her pony-tailed intensity, is as much an icon of American sport as Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. Go ahead. Argue with me. But people in sports know Mia Hamm.

To be perfectly honest, Hamm was not my favorite. Chastain may be the most cooperative and media-savvy athlete in the Bay Area. She remembers names, signs autographs and goes the extra mile. Foudy is both intelligent and witty, a well-rounded athlete who will be a success at whatever she does. Fawcett is everyone's favorite soccer mom, since she is still playing, even after giving birth to two kids.

But the little girls like Hamm. We have one in our house. She has played soccer for a while and has always been pretty good. But we were going to "protect'' her from the evils of the game. Because, of course, we knew best, we urged her to turn down chances to play at a higher level. "Just have fun,'' we said.

One day I picked her up at practice and she was near tears. "They aren't even paying attention!'' she said. "They are just playing around!''

Slowly it dawned on us. She moved up to a more competitive league. She met a lot of girls like her. Tough cookies who liked to compete. To them, that was fun. And when they looked around for someone like them, they saw that hawk- like glare of American soccer star Mia Hamm. Next thing you know, Hamm's poster was on bedroom walls all over the 'burbs.

Hamm has never been touchy-feely or cute. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney she was ordered to walk up to reporters in the interview "zone'' after a game. She did, putting her hands on her hips and barely disguising her impatience. The journalists, a little thrown by her ferocity, experienced a collective brain lock. For a few seconds no one spoke.

"You know,'' Hamm said, exasperated, "I am not the one asking the questions here.''

Some of the flower of journalism were offended, but those of us with daughters had to smile. How many girls, for how many years, have been told to tone it down? Be ladylike? Don't be so aggressive? Do you think you will ever meet a man if you act like that?

A few years ago Hamm was at a charity event at Harvard. It was a celebrity penalty kick competition. Among those kicking was (then) Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Hamm beat him. And then, not long afterward, they were married.

Garciaparra didn't have a problem with a strong woman. In fact, it seems hardly anyone does anymore.

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