Olympic Results 2012: Why the US Women's Soccer Gold Was Best Theatre of Games

Chris HummerAnalyst IAugust 13, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Abby Wambach #14  of the United States celebrates after defeating Japan by a score of 2-1 to win the Women's Football gold medal match on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There were so many inspirational and thrilling moments in the 2012 Olympics that it's hard to count, but the U.S. women's soccer gold-medal run was the most exciting.

This team came into the Olympic tournament ranked as the No. 1 squad in the world, and expectations were that they'd bring home the gold.

Plus, they had the weight of their World Cup loss to Japan from just the year before, so there was a ton of emotional motivation and pressure on them from the start.

That pressure seemed to rear its head in the first contest, too.

The U.S. quickly fell behind France 2-0 in their opening game, thanks to a couple of first half mistakes, but after that, the team was golden.

They scored four straight goals to down the French, and it seemed as if disaster was avoided.

From there, Team USA coasted to the semifinals.

While Abby Wambach's first-ever goal by a non-British woman in Old Trafford in pool play should not be overlooked, it was a monumental moment in its own right.

But, the semis is where Team USA's ride really got interesting.

The U.S. took on rival Canada in a game that will go down as one of the best soccer matches ever—and that includes the men.

It was a back-and-forth affair with the U.S. coming back from a goal down on three separate occasions.

Megan Rapinoe played brilliantly, scoring a pair of goals; Abby Wambach tied the game late on a controversial penalty kick that sent the game into extra time.

It was in the second period of overtime that the U.S.'s feeling of euphoria really came about.

With less than a minute remaining in extra time, striker Alex Morgan netted the game winner on a brilliant header. 

It was a goal that set all of America ablaze and sent the Canadians into an angry frenzy.

Either way, it was an incredible sporting moment, the kind that will live on for decades.

In the finals, the U.S. finished the job in fitting fashion. Team USA defeated the same Japanese team that had beat them in the World Cup final only a year before, 2-1.

It was an incredible run by this group of women and really defines a Games that's being labeled the "Women's Olympics."

With no professional league to call their own, the futures of many of these women are in question.

For those that were able to follow Team USA's incredible run, they will always live on as champions.

But really, this team is more than that. They're an inspiration to millions of little girls who watched them shine.