The United States women's soccer team has put on quite a show at the 2012 London Olympics, but it has been overshadowed by Hope Solo's off-field persona.
Solo hasn't been overly obnoxious or said all the wrong things, which would be easy to do. After all, she is the goalkeeper of one of the best soccer teams in the entire world, if not the best.
She's the leader in the net and off the field, and while the things she says often contribute to the allure that surrounds Team USA, they also take away from the rest of her teammates.
Her comments aren't over the line, and they spice up the sometimes dull Olympic competition. However, they cause the public to focus more on what Hope is going to do, rather than what the United States women's team is going to do.
The 31-year-old Washington native started off her campaign of comments at the Olympics with these comments (via ESPN):
With a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you want to build memories, whether it's sexual, partying or on the field. I've seen people having sex right out in the open. On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty.
I would assume there is some kind of code—like, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"—that goes for the Olympic Village. But how should I know? I'm far from an Olympic athlete.
Either way, she started off the Olympic Games by immediately drawing attention to herself before Team USA even stepped on the pitch.
Solo didn't stop there, either. Here is an excerpt from The Daily Mail that pertains to Solo's memoir Solo: A Memoir of Hope:
Hope Solo has revealed how she was conceived during one of her mother’s conjugal visits to her jailed father.
In a new autobiography, the U.S. women’s soccer team goalkeeper candidly discusses her childhood, and her criminal father, Jeffrey John Solo, who was serving a prison sentence for embezzlement at Walla Walla State Penitentiary at the time.
It's honorable that Solo was willing to reveal her past as an inspiration to others, but it's just too convenient that the release of her memoir almost directly coincides with the Olympic Games.
According to Amazon.com, the book isn't set to be released until August 15. That's less than a week after the gold medal match in London.
I don't want to accuse Solo of calling attention to herself as a marketing ploy to sell copies, but you don't have to stretch the imagination too far to come to that conclusion.
Solo put a cherry on top of the sundae when she laid into Brandi Chastain on Twitter because Chastain made a few remarks on-air. Here is what Solo said:
Just because Chastain played for Team USA doesn't mean she forfeits the right to be critical of the team. In fact, that should give her more of a right to comment on the team's play.
Is Solo taking attention away from her team?
Don't get me wrong, Solo has the right to say what she wants, but all of her remarks come at the expense of Team USA's success.
By all accounts, she is a great teammate and proponent of the game, but she could use some work handing the public relations part of the job at times.