When the U.S. Women’s National Team set out for the United Kingdom earlier this week, Coach Pia Sundhage was probably relishing the opportunity to get her team out of the limelight. The past few weeks have brought plenty of headlines for the team and with less than two weeks until their first match against France, Sundhage knows that now is the time to get her team focused on defending their gold medal.
Only one day before the team boarded a flight to Middlesbrough, England where they will spend the next several days in their final training camp, the news about a positive drug test came out about goalkeeper Hope Solo. Solo tested positive for a drug called Canrenone on June 15 and was given a “public warning” by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Solo had this to say about the failed drug test:
“I took a medication prescribed by my personal doctor for pre-menstrual purposes that I did not know contained a diuretic. Once informed of this fact, I immediately cooperated with USADA and shared with them everything they needed to properly conclude that I made an honest mistake, and that the medication did not enhance my performance in any way.”
Though the drug is on the banned list, Solo was only given a warning because this drug is not believed to have given her any athletic advantage.
“As someone who believes in clean sport, I am glad to have worked with USADA to resolve this matter and I look forward to representing my country at the 2012 Olympic games in London,” she added in her statement that she released on July 9.
Solo can thank a change in the USADA’s rules that went into effect in 2009 that allows for the public warning rather than a suspension.
Solo made other news this week for her comments made to ESPN The Magazine about all the extra “action” shall we say that goes on in the Olympic Village.
“Athletes are extremists,” Solo said in the interview. “When they’re training, it’s laser focus. When they go out for a drink, it’s 20 drinks. With a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you want to build memories, whether it’s sexual, partying or on the field.”
Solo added that she’s even seen people having sex “right out in the open” in the Olympic Village. “On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty.”
She also disclosed that the U.S. women were quite drunk when they appeared on the Today show after their gold medal performance in Beijing and that she even snuck someone back into the Olympic Village during the games.
Not terribly surprising considering we are talking about young, beautiful, adrenaline pumped adults. Though probably not the best image the U.S. is looking to promote to the millions of young kids who look up to these athletes.
Abby Wambach also found herself (and quite a bit of herself) being displayed for all to see when she debuted in ESPN The Magazine as a part of their 2012 Body Issue. If you haven’t seen the photos they were done quite tastefully and shows the athletic side of Wambach that we are used to seeing, just with well a lot less clothing. Photo 1, Photo 2. Also of interest is the behind the scenes video with highlights from the photo shoot.
Megan Rapinoe also made news at the beginning of the month when she revealed for the record that she is gay and encouraged other gay professional athletes to step out as well. (see Megan Rapinoe: “I’m Gay” And Why It’s a Big Deal).
For Sundhage the latter exposure was probably not something that bothered her as much as the “Olympic confessions” Solo felt the need to share. And with the team now sequestered off in rural England where training is in full swing, no doubt she has everyone fully engaged as their first game is within sight. Perhaps all this publicity will put more eyes on the team and for those drawn to watch due to all the recent headlines, well hopefully they will stick around to see that these women are also great soccer players.