Sweden eliminated the U.S. women’s national team from the 2016 Rio Olympics in the quarterfinal round of the tournament on Friday, and most people are still trying to wrap their minds around what happened. Since women’s soccer was first installed as an Olympic sport back in 1996, the USWNT has appeared in every single Olympic gold-medal game, and outside of a loss to Australia in 2000, they’ve enjoyed a lot of Olympic success. So to lose in a quarterfinal game is disappointing, to say the least, and USWNT players like Alex Morgan are heartbroken at the moment.
But while most USWNT players handled the loss with grace, goalkeeper Hope Solo had a much different kind of response when she was asked about the game against Sweden. Rather than tip her hat to the Swedes, she called them "cowards" while speaking with reporters after the loss, as first reported by Los Angeles Times sportswriter Kevin Baxter:
It was such an off-putting response that some people wondered whether or not the quote was real. Turns out, it was. Here is Solo's full quote, courtesy of Sports Illustrator senior writer Grant Wahl:
Former USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage, who now serves as the head coach for Sweden, wasn’t bothered by Solo’s comments:
But plenty of other people were. On Twitter, many people called Solo out for showing poor sportsmanship and quite a few also brought up the domestic violence charges that Solo has faced in the past. Here are just some of the reactions to Solo’s "cowards" comment:
Solo’s entire Olympic experience this year was…not good. A few weeks before the Olympic Games started, she made a joke about preparing herself for the Zika virus on her social media accounts:
And as a result, many opposing fans chanted "Zika!" in Solo’s direction during the USWNT’s Olympic matches:
But she made things much, much worse on herself by saying what she said on Friday. She did try to soften the blow a short time later by attempting to give Sweden more credit than she did initially:
But unfortunately, the comments she made in the heat of the moment are probably going to be the only ones people ultimately remember.