On this day, 21 August 2008 (Exactly 11 years ago today), the United States retained the Olympic women’s football title with a 1-0 extra-time win over hapless Brazil, who fell at the last hurdle for the third major competition in a row.
Carli Lloyd rifled the gold medal winner with a low shot from the edge of the area six minutes into extra-time after the South Americans had dominated most of the game.
The Brazilians were also runners-up to the United States in Athens four years earlier and lost to Germany in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup final.
Six times World Player of the Year Marta, who played in all three finals and missed a penalty against Germany, hit the post in the second half.
“When I was six years old, I thought I was the only girl who played football and I had to play with boys,” said U.S. coach Pia Sundhage.
“I could never imagine being a professional player or coach. I am so proud,” said the Swede.
Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos was left to pick up the pieces after another huge disappointment.
“We were really confident that we would win this game but football is complicated,” he said. “We had the game in our hands. We were creating chances until the very last minute.”
Marta, often too individualistic, produced plenty of mazy runs but was repeatedly shut out by the U.S. rearguard.
Brazil forward Cristiane, leading scorer with five goals, had the best first-half chance when she broke clear of the defence but Hope Solo rushed out of her goal to block the danger.
In the 72nd minute, Marta scuttled into the penalty area, forced her way between two defenders but saw her shot hit the post.
The United States barely threatened until a late second half flurry.
Brazil goalkeeper Barbara had to punch a corner out from under her goal, then stretched to stop a low Angela Hucles shot in the 86th minute.
In the 90th minute, Amy Rodriguez broke clear but squandered her chance with an attempted chip which Barbara saved.
Lloyd was denied a second when she hit the post in the 115th minute while Marta floated a free kick narrowly wide at the other end.
Brazil had three good chances in the last minute but missed them all.
On this day 21 August 2004(Exactly 15 years ago today) Belarusian sprinter Yulia Nestsiarenka run 10.93 to beat American Lauryn Williams and win the 100m gold medal at the Athens Olympics.
The start was notably uneven as Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova and Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson jumped into upright running positions quickly from the blocks, while Simpson’s Jamaican teammates Aleen Bailey and Veronica Campbell and American favorite Lauryn Williams got out behind.
Campbell further seemed to stumble while Williams powerfully overstride from last into the lead in the middle of the track by the halfway mark. Simpson faded quickly from her fast start being overtaken by Belarusian sprinter Yulia Nestsiarenka, who attempted to find her stride with just 30 metres into the race on the outside.
While Williams and Campbell found their stride to maintain a commanding lead towards the 60-metre mark, Nestsiarenka held off a late charge to continue her march past the field and produce a storming finish with a Belarusian record of 10.93 seconds, making her the nation’s first Olympic champion in this event.
Following an unexpected victory from Nestsiarenka, Williams edged the fast closing Campbell for a silver medal by a hundredth of a second, finishing at 10.96
On this day 21 August 2004 (Exactly 15 years ago today) The Australian women’s 4 x 100m medley relay team of Giaan Rooney, Leisel Jones, Petria Thomas & Jodie Henry smashed the world record to take gold in 3:57.32 at the Athens Olympics
On this day 21 August 2008 (Exactly 11 years ago today) After winning the event in Athens, Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown made it consecutive 200m Olympic titles beating American Allyson Felix by 0.19 in Beijing.
Campbell-Brown had the quickest start and made up the stagger very quickly on Allyson Felix, who had been drawn in the lane outside of her. Running a stellar curve and accelerating out of the bend, the Jamaican athlete held her form to cross the line in 21.74 seconds, the fastest time of the decade and a new personal best.
Veronica Campbell-Brown, who suffered from injuries that led to disappointment in the 200m in the 2007 World Championships, returned to form to become only the second woman in history to win back-to-back Olympic 200m titles.
Allyson Felix was once again relegated to the silver medal in a seasonal best of 21.93, the second-fastest time of her career. Jamaican Kerron Stewart won the bronze medal by just a hundredth of a second.
On this day 21 August 2008 (Exactly 11 years ago today) There was an American sweep of the 400m medals at the Beijing Olympics; LeShawn Merritt won gold in 43.75 ahead of Jeremy Wariner and David Neville.
On this day 21 August 2016 (Exactly 3 years ago today) Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge won the Olympic men’s marathon gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games in a time of 2:08.44; Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) second in 2:09:54, and Galen Rupp (US) third in 2:10:05.
STORIES: GEORGE MAHAMAH