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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

There's Something Picture Perfect About This Tale

Soccer: Chastain prevails again in a very different kind of photographic moment.

September 22, 2000|GRAHAME L. JONES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MELBOURNE, Australia — In 1999, at the Women's World Cup soccer final in the Rose Bowl, Brandi Chastain lost her shirt.

In 2000, she lost something more valuable but, against all odds, got it back. The two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist picks up the tale:

"When you go to the opening ceremony, you're very excited so you're snapping pictures all over the place," she said Wednesday night after the U.S. had advanced to the Olympic semifinals.

"These are memories that will last you a lifetime. You'll pass them down to your kids and grandkids.

"So I took a whole roll of film, I was so excited. I put it in my pocket. I had my video camera, my still camera; I've got my lipstick, of course, because you never know what's going to happen.

"So I'm playing with [the exposed film] in my pocket, kind of flipping the cap [during the parade of athletes into sold-out Stadium Australia in Sydney].

"And then when we get from the track to the place [in the infield] where we we're standing, I don't have the film any more. I'm thinking, 'I've just lost 26 precious photos.' And I said, 'I'm going to find that film.' "

The odds, of course, are a lot slimmer than Djakapurra Munyarryun, the Aborigine man who, along with 13-year-old Nikki Webster, was the photographic focus of the opening ceremony.

"So I start looking around everybody's feet and I get to the basketball players, who are 7 feet tall, and Sheryl Swoopes was like, 'Brandi, what are you doing?'

"I'm like, 'I lost my film, I have to find it.'

"She goes, 'Girl, in all these thousands of people you think you're going to find your film? You're crazy.'

"I said, 'I'm lucky. I'm going to find that film.'

"The next thing I know, a rower and an administrator with the basketball team asked me what I was looking for. I said, 'I lost my film.' They said, 'Is it [such and such brand] in a case?' I said, 'yes.'

"They go, 'Oh, we know who has it, we'll go get it.' So that's how I got my film back."

Rower Linda Miller, a member of the U.S. crew, had found the film.

As a result, Chastain, whose shirtless celebratory photo made newspapers and magazines around the world last summer, now has another photographic memory.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Women's Soccer

SEMIFINALS

GERMANY vs. NORWAY

11:30 p.m. PDT Saturday

UNITED STATES vs. BRAZIL

11:30 p.m. PDT Saturday

MEDALS

BRONZE: 11 p.m. PDT Wednesday

GOLD: 2 a.m. PDT Thursday

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