Thursday, August 09, 2012

Canadian Women's Soccer Team Gets Some Redemption

Canada hasn't won a medal in Summer Olympic team sports since the 1936 Berlin Games.  We never won one in soccer.  If you asked me two months ago if we'd ever win a soccer medal in my lifetime, I'd say, "When it comes to soccer, we're really good in hockey."


But on Monday we were really close to winning the semi-final and the right to play in the gold medal match.  Most believe we should be in this afternoon's gold medal final.  We almost made history and knocked off the best women's soccer team in the world.  It would have been historic.

But it didn't turn out that way.  You can blame the referee.  Most Canadians have decided to go that route.  I don't really see anyone, including FIFA, offer up any satisfying counter arguments.  But it is also useless stewing in the past, because the results were never going to be overturned.  Canada just needed to focus on winning the bronze medal.  It would be our first medal in soccer, and a victory that still would be historic.  It is a victory that would still be an inspiration to youngsters.  Actually, maybe it would be even more inspirational than if we got into the finals.  This time we have a chance to end the Olympic run on a happy note.  More importantly, it would be about bouncing back from adversity.  It would about recovering from a devastating and controversial loss, and taking home an unexpected medal.  It would show all the children that you don't stay down or cry over injustice, but you do something about it.  In sport, that 'doing something" is focusing on the game ahead and pulling out the best performance of your life.

It didn't look like we were going to get that satisfying finish today in the bronze medal match.  France dominated this game.  It was 25 shots to 4.  This was France's game to win.  It looked like Canada got exposed as the overmatched team everyone expected they were.  It seemed like vindication for all those who believed Canada shouldn't be contending for medal.

Except Canada defied the odd again and powered through a tough match to score an overtime goal.  Diana Matheson found a hole in the net, and gave Canada its long awaited medal victory.  Canada got its happy ending.

It wasn't Canada's best performance.  But it was a gutty performance.  They were outplayed by France, but still had the determination to come back and win.  This is what champions do.  There is no dispute that today the Canadian women's soccer team are champions.

Congrats ladies, on a well-deserved medal win.

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