Rapinoe, Team USA look to put 2016 elimination behind them

Rapinoe, Team USA go for gold in Tokyo

It was the loss that left an indelible mark on the U.S. women’s soccer team.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, the heavily favored Americans lost to Sweden on penalties in the quarterfinals, marking the first time in 16 years the team went home without at least making the gold medal game. Afterward, said Megan Rapinoe, Team USA’s high-scoring midfielder, “we felt like total failures.” So much so that she says they will never let anything like that happen again.

And that will be put to the test Wednesday, July 21, when Team USA meets the Swedes in a group stage game at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. For the 36-year-old Rapinoe, this will be her third Olympics. She was on the team in 2016 but was relegated to the bench because she was still recovering from major knee surgery. But she was one of the stars of the 2012 team in London as she helped lead the U.S. to the gold medal.

On this year’s 18-player team, she stands as one of the oldest players on a team of veterans and fresh faces whose average age is almost 31. She won the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot at the 2019 World Cup and now Team USA is trying to become the first team to follow a World Cup title with Olympic gold.

It would mean vindication to a U.S. team trying to put a deflating loss behind them and add yet another trophy in the much-decorated Rapinoe’s career.

Player Profile

Megan Rapinoe

Full name: Megan Anna Rapinoe

Birth date: July 5, 1985

Birthplace: Redding, Calif.

Height/weight: 5 feet 7 inches/132 pounds

Position: Midfielder

No.: 15

Professional teams: Chicago Red Stars (2009-10); Philadelphia Independence (2011); Sydney FC (2011); MagicJack (2011); Seattle Sounders (2012); Olympique Lyonnais (2013-14); OL Reign (2013-present)

National teams: United States U-20 (2003-05); United States (2006-present)

Honors and achievements: Olympic gold medal (2012); two-time World Cup champion (2015, 2019); two-time CONCACAF Women’s World Championship (2014, 2018); Algarve Cup (2011, 2013, 2015)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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