Megan Rapinoe unfazed by Olympic uncertainty

The news on the Olympic front isn't good.

The Tokyo Games have already been postponed once. Japanese organizers and the IOC moved quickly in March 2020 to postpone the Tokyo Olympics as the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the world.

Japan has done better than most countries in halting the spread of the coronavirus, but the decision to put Tokyo under a state of emergency order last month shows just how serious the threat remains.

The Japanese government and IOC responded quickly on Friday to deny a Times of London report, quoting an anonymous government official, that the 2021 Olympics will be cancelled.

The Olympic situation is of interest to Megan Rapinoe and her U.S. teammates, who are seeking to win the USA's fifth gold medal in women's soccer and avenge their quarterfinal exit in 2016.

"I was actually doing a little recovery bath when I saw a pop-up on my phone," she said after the USA's 6-0 win over Colombia on Friday when asked about her approach in response to the latest news surrounding the Tokyo Olympics. "We just are focused on every day. Eventually, someone will tell us if the Olympics are happening, if they're not happening, what day we're going to go into camp next, what flight we're going to get on, what time dinner is, all that kind of stuff."

Rapinoe said she is thankful for the chance the national team has gotten to prepare in a safe environment.

"We all understand we are in a global pandemic," she said, "our country being one of the countries that's been hit the hardest or handled it the worst, however you want to say that, and we understand the implications of bringing the global community together for, technically, a non-essential kind of thing."

Rapinoe and her teammates already have been through the process of beginning an Olympic year in 2020, with Concacaf qualifying and the SheBelieves Cup, and having everything shut down.

"We just do everything we can to keep our environment safe, prepare the way that we can, fully understanding, much like last year, it could very likely not happen again," she said. "That would be awful. Personally, I would be devastated. I think a lot of my teammates would be devastated to miss out fully on a major championship because I don't think it would postponed again. Someone will tell us at some point, but until then we just keep training and keep playing these games."

Rapinoe, who didn't play in 2020 after the Olympics were postponed, was one of only four players to start both games against Colombia and scored twice in Friday's win over the Cafeteras.

"I feel really good," she said. "I'm very thankful for the trust that Vlatko [Andonovski] and the whole staff put in me staying away from the team for the year and not being a part of any activities, knowing that, or at least trusting me that, I would show back fit and ready to go, which I did. I feel better this January than maybe in 10 years."

Rapinoe's two goals followed the opening goal from Catarina Macario, who was making her first start with the U.S. national team.

"I think what she showed tonight, what she's been showing us in training, is unbelievable," said Rapinoe. "We haven't ever had a striker that plays like her. She comes back, gets on the ball, is very creative, more like a false nine."

Rapinoe missed the two national team camps last fall so she did not get a chance to see Macario, who attended the camps but wasn't eligible to play for the USA. But Rapinoe has seen some of the goals Macario scored at Stanford and been duly impressed.

"Taking one off the chest and volleying into the top corner, or just a quick touch around and burying it hard and low," she said. "I think physically she's already ready to be at this level, which is a huge jump for a lot of people to go from college. You saw she can hold it up, she’s quick, she’s fast, she thinks fast. She is just going to be one of those fun players that you love to see, someone that is going to excite the fans, someone that is going to come out with something creative.”

4 comments about "Megan Rapinoe unfazed by Olympic uncertainty".
  1. E Velazquez, January 24, 2021 at 6:56 a.m.

    she is too old to play soccer. After the worl cup she has  not shown any thing to justify her inclusion in the team, the two goles with colombia were the first : own goal by the deflexion of the defender and the second goal a non impressive penalty kick. Mr Andronovki we need YOUTH. It looks that you need to develop Macario and Pierce  urgently instead of using Rapino and Morgan, wouldn't  you ?

  2. Nick Gabris, January 24, 2021 at 12:31 p.m.

    I agree with EV. Rapinoe is good for about 30 min. All she really has is a good cross. I never understood how she was awarded the Balon D' Or for the best female player in the world??? Youth is the future, not the status quo. Loyd is another one that needs to retire and give youth a chance.

  3. Mark Buckley, January 24, 2021 at 10:58 p.m.

     The Ballon d'Or (French pronunciation: ​[balɔ̃ dɔʁ]; "Golden Ball") is an annual football award presented by French news magazine France Football that is one of the oldest and generally regarded as the most prestigious individual award for football players.

    Nick,
    Apparently France Football magazine didn't check with you, but they selected Megan Rapinoe. I don't remember any uproar over her selection. 

  4. Bob Ashpole, January 29, 2021 at 9:57 a.m.

    E Velazquez, I was surprised and disappointed reading your post. The fact is that the coach did call up and give Macario and Pierce playing time.

    Nick Gabris, the olympics with an 18 person roster has no room to carry even one player for development purposes. The goal is to win the gold medal. The 18 selected must be the best team now, not in the future. Lloyd may not be selected, but her age won't have anything to do with it.

    Age is nothing. Current performance is everything.

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