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London Olympics: Hope Solo stirs things up away from the field

The best women's goalkeeper in the world takes to Twitter to blast NBC analyst Brandi Chastain, who converted the penalty kick that gave the U.S. the 1999 World Cup title.

July 28, 2012
  • U.S. goaltender Hope Solo, shown during an Olympic qualifier back in January, took to Twitter to challenge comments by NBC analyst and former U.S. soccer star Brandi Chastain after Saturday's game against Columbia.
U.S. goaltender Hope Solo, shown during an Olympic qualifier back in January,… (Jonathan Hayward / Associated…)

LONDON — Hope Solo is the best women's goalkeeper in the world. Yet she continues to make more news with her words than with her play.

Shortly after shutting out Colombia in the U.S. soccer team's second group-play game at the London Olympics, Solo took to Twitter to blast NBC analyst Brandi Chastain, who played 192 games for the national team and converted the penalty kick that gave the U.S. the 1999 World Cup title in a shootout win over China.

"Its 2 bad we cant have commentators who better represents the team&knows more about the game," Solo tweeted. Then, three minutes later, she added: "Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated. The game has changed from a decade ago."

It's believed that Solo was upset over comments Chastain made about U.S. defender Rachel Buehler, who she said was playing too carelessly.

Then after praising her teammates for their play, Solo went after Chastain again in two rapid-fire tweets.

"Its important 2 our fans 2 enjoy the spirit of the olympics. Its not possible when sum1 on air is saying that a player is the worst defender!," she tweeted before adding in part, "I feel bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute....@brandichastain should be helping 2 grow the sport."

—Kevin Baxter

A good non-bet

Mere seconds after the Olympic caldron was lit by the G7 — the group of seven youngsters — this question was raised:

What about the punters?

Translation: The bettors.

Would the local bookmakers be sitting back and smiling, thrilled by the surprise move since no one had the wild vision to say, "I'll put 200 pounds down on seven anonymous youngsters"?

The bookies, as it turned out, have a heart in the aftermath of Friday's opening ceremony. More than one bookmaker said it would refund the bets.

Graham Sharpe, of William Hill, said the firm would be refunding everyone's stake.

"What happened, no one could have predicted," he told the Press Assn. "It was not put to us, nobody quoted it. The only fair thing to do was to refund all the bets from over the last seven years."

It was not an issue in Las Vegas. An official from MGM Casino reiterated that gaming regulations prohibit it from taking wagers on the Olympics.

So for those wanting to put down big money on the 10-meter platform or the double sculls, sorry, you'll have to come join the party in London.

Bring the Noise

Rifle shooting has never been the rowdiest of sports.

Competitors stand silently, focused on the target, squeezing off one shot after another. The crowds — a relative term — watch intently and respectfully.

But the 10-meter air rifle competition had a different sort of feel Saturday, the action punctuated by frequent bursts of applause.

British shooter Jennifer McIntosh was taken aback — until she realized that all the clapping was for her, the hometown crowd showing their support after every good shot.

"We're not exactly used to that, but it was phenomenal," McIntosh said.

At one point, the 21-year-old athlete stepped away from her rifle and offered a wave toward the stands. "Actually, I found it really helped," she said. "It gave me something to laugh about, which helps deal with the nerves."

—David Wharton

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