inJohanna FrändénPetra Thorén
PARIS-LE HAVRE. Three years after the Olympics penalties, Hope Solo now chooses to recount her startling version of American fraud.
In an interview with Sportbladet's Johanna Fränden, the former star tells her that she felt compelled by her coaches to wear gloves that they destroyed before the meeting with Sweden.
"I'm ashamed and wish I never did," she says.
At home in Sweden, football player Lisa Dahlkvist enjoys her life as a newborn mother of two children. The former national team player was disappointed to be no longer part of Blågult and to follow the World Cup adventure on TV.
Of course the Thursday meeting with the US is an extra sensation of tickling. It often happens that she meets people in the city who remind her of criminal proceedings at the 2016 Olympics.
– It was super special. The story was drawn several times, it's really very funny. I do not understand how I can be so calm. It seems so simple, I was so into it, she says.
But there is still one thing that Lisa Dahlkvist is thinking.
– Ask if the gloves were really wrong or not. That's what you want to know, says Lisa when she learns that Sportbladet is going to talk to Hope Solo.
He was responsible for mentoring
You remember the pictures well. The American goalkeeper began during the Rio penalty to repair the gloves and replace them. Meanwhile, the Swede had to wait. Lisa Dahlkvist watched the process assembled and relaxed, so she put the penalty and the US came out of the operating system.
It was the end of the successful and acclaimed career of Hope Solo's national team. The former American player is now in France as a specialist for the British BBC and a guest columnist for The Guardian.
Now, three years later, Hope Solo chooses to answer the question that Lisa Dahlkvist – and perhaps a large part of the Swedish football public – thought about.
Here is his comprehensive answer that takes the semifinals in the World Cup against Germany in 2015, when the Germans got a penalty, but they made a mistake.
I'm so glad she asked. I've wanted to talk about it ever since I stopped! It was a strange operating system for us, we won the 2015 World Cup, but we were not prepared, we were not organized and we did not train in fixed situations, we did not play as a team and our coaches started doing strange things, tactically. In 2015, when I postponed Germany's punishment, I did it because I needed to prepare, I needed to take a deep breath, get off the swing, get some water. I did it for my own good. I tried not to disturb the sniper, so it was not, but I tried to prepare myself. Our leader team realized that the aggressor was nervous, that the longer the sniper has to wait, this can affect the nerves.
"So they got me – and that was part of the plan before we got to the penitentiary (at the Olympics) – to do it! They fixed my gloves, says the goalkeeper then.
She continues to paint an image that was not previously published about the criminal drama at the 2016 Olympics.
– Coach keeper and trainer Jill Ellis took my gloves and destroyed them before the match, so if I had to make a ransom I would say my gloves were broken. If something is wrong with your equipment, they should allow you to fix it. I was not comfortable with that. I did not want to do that, I was very experienced as a goalkeeper and I wanted to trust my instincts, but our coaches did strange things at the time, we tested new statistics, new things. I would say no, I would trust my instincts and I am sorry, but the coaches made me do it, and since then I feel ashamed!
She tells Sportbladet that she was never asked if the gloves were really broken and she wished Lisa Dahlkvist would get the answer.
"You can tell her (Lisa) that I know when I saw her and I know she was wrong. I was ashamed and I wish I had never done it.
Did you feel compelled to do this?
– It was absolutely instructions from the coaches of goalkeepers, it was planned. It was predetermined. Please tell her that I did not believe in the tactics and when I look back it's not what I wanted to lose but I'm glad she scored goals for her and I know that tactically was not the best thing to do! I listened to the training team and I should not have done it.
Do you regret calling the Swedish "cowards" afterwards?
"I think we all changed, I apologized to Swedish captain Lotta Schelin. The American media made it much bigger than it was … There was a context, but they took a small part of it and it became a big thing in the American media, I can live with myself, I apologized to the Swedish team, I have a lot of respect for Swedes. I did many good games against Sweden, they helped my career started.
Hope Solo has been the US national goalkeeper for 16 years. She played 202 international matches and won two Olympic gold medals and gold in the world cup.
I wait alone.