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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Spotlight

A Real Thriller

A look at the day that was and at what lies ahead at the Summer Games

August 03, 1996|MIKE PENNER

Late in the second half of the women's soccer bronze-medal game came the public address announcement:

"Ladies and gentlemen, a substitution for Brazil. Now entering the game, No. 9, Michael Jackson!"

The crowd roared with laughter as Brazil's No. 9 jogged onto the field to replace midfielder Sonia.

And there it was, in dark green block letters on the back of No. 9's jersey, "MICHAEL JACKSON."

Would Brazil's next substitution be Diana Ross?

Michael Jackson is only a nickname, of course, in accordance with long-standing Brazilian soccer tradition. Apparently, friends had told the player she bore a facial resemblance to the king of pop, so she adopted his name as her official futbol nom de plume.

Most of her teammates are known by nicknames as well. Playing alongside Michael Jackson against Norway on Thursday were Meg, Suzy, Fanta, Elane, Marisa, Katia and the team captain, Sissi.

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