Soccer: Women


The U.S. women’s soccer team qualified for the Beijing Olympics by winning the CONCACAF Olympic Qualification Tournament, held April 2-13 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Head coach Pia Sundhage selected a 18-player Olympic roster on June 23.

Forward Abby Wambach was injured in a tune-up match on July 16, and replaced on the roster by Lauren Cheney.

Hope Solo (goalkeeper)

Hope Solo (goalkeeper)

The #1 goalkeeping option for the United States women’s soccer team going into Beijing, Hope Solo hopes to put the nightmare of 2007 behind her.
Christie Rampone (defender)

Christie Rampone (defender)

Second only to Kristine Lilly in career U.S. national team caps, team captain Christie Rampone looks to anchor the defense in Beijing.
Shannon Boxx (midfielder)

Shannon Boxx (midfielder)

An integral part of the gold medal-winning soccer team in Athens, midfielder Shannon Boxx brings trust and leadership to the women's national team.
Heather O'Reilly (midfielder)

Heather O'Reilly (midfielder)

Confident and highly skilled, Heather O'Reilly embraces the challenge of helping the U.S. team defend its Olympic gold in Beijing.
Carli Lloyd (midfielder)

Carli Lloyd (midfielder)

Carli Lloyd is a strong attacking midfielder who is able to deliver dead-on service through the air or on the ground.
Kate Markgraf (defender)

Kate Markgraf (defender)

A fixture at central defender for a decade, soccer mom Kate Markgraf provides leadership and experience for the U.S. women's national team.
Lindsay Tarpley (midfielder)

Lindsay Tarpley (midfielder)

Midfielder Lindsay Tarpley, who had a dream strike in the 2004 Olympic final, will look for a repeat performance in Beijing.
Natasha Kai (forward)

Natasha Kai (forward)

A goal-scoring machine in 2008, forward Natasha Kai is the first women's national team member to hail from Hawaii.
Lori Chalupny (defender)

Lori Chalupny (defender)

With her foot speed and flexibility, defender Lori Chalupny has often been compared to long-time national team captain Kristine Lilly.
Amy Rodriguez (forward)

Amy Rodriguez (forward)

Amy 'A-Rod' Rodriguez has returned from her studies at USC to become a key scoring option on the national team's front line.
Heather Mitts (defender)

Heather Mitts (defender)

A member of the gold medal winning team in Athens, the photogenic defender Heather Mitts comes back for her second Olympics.
Nicole Barnhart (goalkeeper)

Nicole Barnhart (goalkeeper)

One of the heroes of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart goes to Beijing as an able backup to Hope Solo.
Angela Hucles (midfielder)

Angela Hucles (midfielder)

A versatile player who can play in the midfield or up front, Angela Hucles looks for a second Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
Lauren Cheney (forward)

Lauren Cheney (forward)

One of three collegiate players on the U.S. roster, Lauren Cheney replaces the injured Abby Wambach on the front line.
Tobin Heath (midfielder)

Tobin Heath (midfielder)

A defender while playing in the youth national system, Tobin Heath has earned time at midfielder with the senior team.
Aly Wagner (midfielder)

Aly Wagner (midfielder)

A veteran of the 2004 Games and two World Cups, Aly Wagner can still bring it from her center midfield position.
Rachel Buehler (defender)

Rachel Buehler (defender)

Since earning her first national team cap in January 2008, Stanford-educated Rachel Buehler has blossomed on the U.S. back line.
Stephanie Cox (defender)

Stephanie Cox (defender)

Stephanie Cox was given a second chance after an unfortunate injury to a fellow defender, and she made the most of it.


  • Badminton's not-so-eligible bachelor

    U.S. badminton player Howard Bach, was named as one of People's 50 most eligible bachelors in 2004. He is currently engaged to his girlfriend of 11 years and will be married shortly after the Beijing Games.
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  • Badminton's not-so-eligible bachelor

    U.S. badminton player Howard Bach, was named as one of People's 50 most eligible bachelors in 2004. He is currently engaged to his girlfriend of 11 years and will be married shortly after the Beijing Games.
  • America's borrowed Olympic medalist

    Gao Jun is the only member of the 2008 U.S. table tennis team with an Olympic medal -- a silver won for China in 1992.  No American has ever won a medal in the sport.
  • Quite the haul

    Since 1988, the U.S. tennis team has won at least one medal at each Olympic Games.
  • Sailing to the top

    With 57 Olympic medals, the U.S. is the most successful nation in Olympic sailing history. Americans have won a medal at every Games at which it competed, with the exception of the 1928 and 1936 Games.
  • Jean Lopez

    U.S. Olympic team coach Jean was a top-ranked taekwondo player but never participated in an Olympic Games. Taekwondo was a demonstration sport in Seoul in 1988, and became a medal sport in 2000.
  • A boost on the track

    In 1984, 20-year-old Steve Hegg came out of nowhere to win the 4000m individual pursuit. However, like 7 other members of the U.S. team, he participated in blood-boosting. The practice was banned in 1985.
  • A rare hockey medal

    At the 1932 Los Angeles Games, the United States men won bronze in field hockey, despite being outscored 33-3 in two matches. How did they win a medal? Easy, only three nations competed in the sport.
  • A medal for the natives

    The first ever triathlon following the swim-bike-run format took place in San Diego, California on September 25, 1974. Only one American has won a medal: Susan Williams won bronze in 2004.
  • Diggers needed

    Every volleyball team features one player wearing a different colored jersey: the libero, a defensive specialist adept at digging. The libero is not allowed to serve, spike the ball, or to rotate into one of the front-row positions.

  • Like mother, like daughter

    Ronda Rousey became only the second woman to ever medal at the judo world championships, winning silver in 2007.  The only other woman to do so?  Her mother, AnnMaria Rousey, who won gold in 1984. 
  • Beach bragging rights

    In beach volleyball, the United States (five total medals) has won gold at each of the three Olympics in which the sport has been contested.

  • True multi-sport enthusiast

    Sheila Taormina is a modern pentathlete and is the first female Olympic athlete to compete in three different sports. She previously competed in swimming ('96) and triathlon ('00 & '04).

  • Olympian parents

    Both parents of 2004 Olympic sabre champion Mariel Zagunis, Robert and Cathy, competed in the rowing competition at the 1976 Montreal Games.
  • Teen apprenticeship

    As a 14-year-old, U.S. water polo player Tony Azevedo lent his services as a poolside ball-boy at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
  • Georgia gold

    The United States captured the inaugural gold in women's soccer at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
  • Team handball?

    The Americans have never won a medal in Olympic team handball. Their best finish was in 1984, when the women tied for fourth out of six teams.
  • Age is a trivial matter

    The youngest female lifter to win an Olympic medal is Cheryl Haworth, who was 17 years, 156 days when she captured bronze in the super-heavyweight class in Sydney in 2000.
  • Identical golds

    At the 1992 Games, U.S. synchronized swimmers and identical twins Karen and Sarah Josephson won gold in the duet. Ironically that same year, Canada won silver with a team of identical twins, Penny and Vicky Vilagos.
  • Equal opportunity shooting

    It wasn't until 1984 before women had their own shooting events, so when Margaret Murdock won silver in 1976, she bested female and male competitors to earn the medal.
  • Ending a 40-year drought

    When the U.S. men's eight won rowing gold in Athens, it was the first time that the American men had won the event since 1964.
  • Golden Oldie

    Pat McDonald won the 56-pound weight throw at the 1920 Antwerp Games when he was 42 years, 23 days -- making him the oldest track and field gold medalist in Olympic history.
  • Twice the Pace

    American Darrell Pace is the only archer to own two individual gold medals in the modern era of Olympic archery since 1972. He won gold in 1976 and 1984.
  • A complicated gold

    In 1988, American Greg Barton and Australian Grant Davies paddled a close race in the K-1 1000m. After the examining the photo finish, Barton was determined the victor, making him the first American paddler to win gold.
  • Lucky 13

    American Marjorie Gestring, who was 13 years, 268 days old when she won springboard gold in 1936, is the youngest ever diving gold medalist.
  • Most golds by a female swimmer

    American Jenny Thompson holds the record for most gold medals won by a female swimmer. She won eight golds over three Olympics -- all of which came in relays.
  • Trampoline history

    The trampoline event made its Olympic debut in Sydney 2000. The American women have qualified three times, but the Beijing Games mark the first time the American men will participate.
  • Most times participating in the Olympics

    The record for most Olympic appearances by an American athlete is seven. Mike Plumb competed in equestrian from 1960-1976, then again in 1984 and 1992.
  • Summer Games in the United States

    Three different U.S. cities have played host to the Summer Olympics: St. Louis (1904), Los Angeles (1932, 1984) and Atlanta (1996). Chicago is a candidate to stage the 2016 Games.
  • Most Golds, American man

    Entering the 2008 Olympics, the record for most gold medals won by an American man is 9, shared by Mark Spitz (swimming) and Carl Lewis (track and field).
  • Rhythmic gem

    In a sport dominated by eastern Europeans, the best Olympic finish for the U.S. in rhythmic gymnastics came from Mary Sanders, who placed 14th in Athens.
  • No 'Dream Team' in baseball

    The United States Olympic baseball team does not have the luxury of its basketball counterparts and cannot draw from anyone on a Major League Baseball 25-man roster.
  • Women's all-around champions

    Both sixteen at the time, Mary Lou Retton in 1984 and Carly Patterson in 2004 are the only American women to claim Olympic all-around gold in gymnastics.

2004 U.S. Olympic Medals

Track & Field812525

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The universal language

An Olympian's language is sport. So while they may represent one country at the Games, through training and competitions across the globe they often make connections with people of all cultures and nationalities.


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