What's buzzing:

Hope Solo saves the day again for U.S.

Martin Rogers
Yahoo Sports



LONDON – Hope Solo's personality is pretty unusual, often prickly, and totally unapologetic. And the U.S. women's soccer team could not be happier about it.

The U.S. goalkeeping star kept her best for last at the Summer Games, with a superb performance that included four outstanding saves as the side retained its Olympic title with a 2-1 victory over Japan. Solo is never more impressive than when she has a point to prove. A public spat with national team legend Brandi Chastain at the start of the tournament, then allowing three goals against Canada in a tense semifinal, proved to be the perfect cocktail for a Solo master class at Wembley Stadium.

Just don't expect her to change.

[Photos: Hope Solo comes up big | Athlete page: More on Hope Solo]

"I am who I am," Solo said after her close friend Carli Lloyd scored the two goals that clinched victory for the Americans, who avenged last year's Women's World Cup defeat to Japan.

"I don't care how I am seen. I don't care how people perceive me. I am here to win, and it is not always pretty. You don't know when you are going to be asked to step up.

"I think I know how to play well under pressure, but a lot of great players are like that."

Life, and soccer, is never quiet for Solo, and it was delightfully fitting that an Olympic journey that ended in glory was a predictably tumultuous ride for the U.S. goalkeeper.

Solo's rant at Chastain led to her being kept away from the team's last media session before the final, but on the field, Solo could not be silenced. Several excellent saves in the first half allowed the Americans to withstand Japan's pressure, but it was her diving stop on Mana Iwabuchi that will long be remembered.

Iwabuchi was clear on goal after captain Christie Rampone gave the ball away, and the Japanese substitute struck the ball cleanly, only to be denied as Solo dived to her right and pushed the ball away.

[Video: U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe explains why she went public with sexuality]

"Hope saved the day, literally," said forward Abby Wambach, who scored in every Olympic game except the final. "Having [Canada's Christine Sinclair] score three times on her in [the semifinal], she took it personally.

"She wanted to make the difference. Sometimes, in final games, your goalkeeper is that one who makes the difference. She is the best goalkeeper in the world."

The Solo fame train did not gather quite as much steam during this tournament as it did during the Women's World Cup, when she became a cult figure to such an extent that an offer to appear on "Dancing With the Stars" duly followed.

Victory was much sweeter, though, for this team of true champions. The game of soccer and women's sports in general could wish for no finer ambassadors than a group of women who show class and dignity yet the fiercest of competitive streaks.

Many of these players have no club team to call their own after Women's Professional Soccer lamentably folded amid a sea of debt, but as role models for America's thriving youth programs they are exemplary.

[Yahoo! Sports Shop: Buy U.S. women's soccer gold-medal gear]

Solo may be the quirkiest of the bunch. She's a loose cannon who says what she thinks, but a true performer nonetheless. At the end of Thursday's medal ceremony, she stood on the podium, tilted her head back and screamed the national anthem with all her might.

Five years ago, Solo was a pariah of women's soccer, kicked off the team for mid-World Cup criticism of teammate Briana Scurry. Now she is one of the central figures in a team that goes down in legend. No longer is women's soccer as severely top-heavy as in its formative years, and there are several highly competitive teams who wish to dominate. Winning three straight Olympics is a serious achievement, and this side deserves its place in history alongside its predecessors.

Thanks in no small part to Hope Solo, the USA's last line of defense, who stood tall and paved the way for a golden triumph.

Related Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:


More Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Pat Forde: Usain Bolt hurts own image with shot at Carl Lewis
Photos: 20 inspirational moments in Olympic history
Elite Athlete Workouts video: Lopez Lomong moves from despair to Olympic dream

  • Osvaldo heads winner on Boca debut in Libertadores Cup

    Osvaldo heads winner on Boca debut in Libertadores Cup

    By Rex Gowar BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Daniel Osvaldo exceeded his wildest expectations by scoring the winner on his debut for Boca Juniors on Thursday as the Argentine side enjoyed a 2-1 home victory over Uruguay’s Wanderers in the Libertadores … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 39 minutes ago
  • Southampton-West Brom Preview

    Tony Pulis has revived the fortunes of West Bromwich Albion and will be eager to continue working his magic against Champions League hopefuls Southampton at The Hawthorns. The Baggies (6-9-11) have suffered just one defeat in the 10 league and cup … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 1 minute ago
  • World sports diary February 28 - March 7

    Feb 27 (Reuters) - World sports diary from February 28 - March 7 - - - - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28 SOCCER Premier League (1500 unless stated) West Ham United v Crystal Palace (1245) Burnley v Swansea City Manchester United v Sunderland Newcastle United … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 10 minutes ago
  • Aston Villa-Newcastle United Preview

    There will be two English managers on the sidelines when Newcastle United host Aston Villa at St James' Park on Saturday. John Carver's Newcastle United (8-8-10) lost 5-0 to Manchester City last weekend, which won't have helped the poisonous mood … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 21 minutes ago
  • Swansea City-Burnley Preview

    Buoyed by high-profile results last weekend, both Burnley and Swansea City will be full of confidence going into their clash at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon. Sean Dyche's Burnley (4-10-12) earned a well-deserved point against league leaders … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 44 minutes ago