Hope Solo and the U.S. women’s soccer team are gold medalists again. Surviving relentless offensive pressure from Japan in front of a record 80,203 at London’s Wembley Stadium, Solo and the Americans repelled the defending World Cup champions 2-1 Wednesday in one of the most intense Olympic finals ever played. Carly Lloyd scored both goals and Solo made several spectacular saves.
The USA has won three consecutive Olympic titles and four of the past five. Wednesday’s victory avenged the USA’s loss to Japan on penalty kicks in the 2011 World Cup final in Germany.
The gold for Solo, a Richland native and a former All-America at the University of Washington, is her second. She also won gold as the USA goalkeeper at the 2008 Games.
Solo’s gold is the fourth won by an athlete with ties to Washington state. Earlier, Bremerton freestyle swimmer Nathan Adrian won two golds and rower Mary Whipple earned a gold in women’s eight.
After the match, Solo, who played every minute in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, paraded the American flag around Wembley Stadium.
Lloyd scored in the eighth minute and 54th, the latter her fourth of the Olympic tournament. On her second, Lloyd dribbled a ball from Megan Rapinoe near the half line toward the goal as Alex Morgan and Amy Wambaugh raced ahead of her. When neither could get open, Lloyd blasted a shot past goalkeeper Miho Fukimoto’s outstretched arms and into the net’s left side.
Japan’s Yuki Ogimi scored in the 64th minute to make it 2-1, and from that point Japan continued to attack, but could not convert its numerous opportunities.
Solo had several key saves, two of the monster variety. In the 18th minute, when Ogimi drove a dangerous header past U.S. defenders that threatened to slip past Solo’s hands, Solo got her fingertip on the shot and deflected it up and over the crossbar.
In the final minutes, Solo faced a one-on-one against Mana Iwabuchi after Christie Rampone gave the ball away in the box. Just as she had in the 2008 Olympic final against Brazil’s remarkable Marta, Solo stood her ground and batted away the shot that could have tied the game.
Also Thursday, Sue Bird and the women’s basketball team advanced to the gold medal game by defeating Lauren Jackson and Australia, 86-73. Bird had 13 points for the USA, Jackson 14 and 17 rebounds for Australia. Bird and Jackson play for the Seattle Storm.
In women’s volleyball, the USA also advanced to the gold-medal match by defeating South Korea in straight sets. Courtney Thompson and Tamari Miyashiro, former stars at the University of Washington, are members of the U.S. team.
Medals By Washingtonians at 2012 Olympic Games
|8/1||Nathan Adrian||Swim||100 free||Bremerton||Gold|
|8/4||Nathan Adrian||Swim||Med Relay||Bremerton||Gold|
|7/29||Nathan Adrian||Swim||4×100 relay||Bremerton||Silver|
|7/30||Marti Malloy||Judo||57 KG||Oak Harbor||Bronze|
|8/1||Megan Kalmoe||Rowing||Quad Sculls||UW||Bronze|
|8/1||Adrienne Martelli||Rowing||Quad Sculls||UW||Bronze|