Sometimes, it seems that bronze is worth as much as gold.
Such is certainly the case for the Canada’s Olympic Women’s Soccer team, whose inspirational win came, not in the hoped-for gold medal game, but in the final bronze round — A bronze medal that is Canada’s first Summer Games medal in a traditional team sport since the 1936 Berlin Games, when the men’s basketball team won silver.
These women sum up all that is best about athletic competition: spirit.
This team refused to give up, not after a humiliating last place finish at the World Cup last year, and not after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in extra time against the U.S. in the semifinals Monday.
The team was clearly crushed after the loss, but by Friday had put that aside as they headed into a game against the highly-favoured French team. Again, another grueling game, but the squad hung on for a scoreless 90 minutes.
Then, two minutes into extra time Diana Matheson drove in the winning goal, and put their team into the record books and Canadian soccer on the international map.
But the goal did more than that. In Canada, where sports revolve around hockey, many are surprised to find that more people play soccer than the national sport. And it is for the upcoming players that the women’s soccer bronze medal win may have its most lasting effect.
All those young players have not only an example of where the sport might take them, to the very highest levels of competition, but an example of competitive spirit to show them that it is possible to make a dream reality.