When Team USA marches into the Maracanã on Friday for the Rio 2016 Olympics opening ceremony, the Stars & Stripes will be held aloft...by Michael Phelps. And while Phelps is a great swimmer, this choice of flag-bearer is so 2008!
The greatest American athletes right now are the members of our women’s national soccer team, and we shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to give them this honor. Midfielder and team captain Carli Lloyd should be waving that flag on Friday—and here’s why:
1) The USWNT is fighting for fair pay
The US women’s soccer team is locked in a wage dispute with the US Soccer Federation. The women are paid just $1,300 for a victory, while the players on the men’s team get $17,000. Giving Lloyd the flag would be a fun way to remind the USSF that the underpaid women’s team actually qualified for the upcoming Olympics...unlike the men’s team.
2) Women’s soccer draws a huge audience
Despite the protestations of jerks on the internet, women’s soccer is incredibly fun to watch, and here’s proof: the 2015 Women’s World Cup final between the USA and Japan was the most-watched soccer match in American TV history, with nearly 23 million viewers. And yes, that goes for men’s and women’s soccer.
3) Lloyd has seniority
Seniority doesn’t count for everything, but Lloyd, at 34, is finally getting the chance to captain the USWNT at the Olympics. This is likely Lloyd’s last major tournament, and she deserves to go out with a flourish.
Jonah.L - 03/08/2016
4) Women deserve the spotlight right now
At the moment, the most dominant American athletes are women: other than the USWNT, there’s tennis star Serena Williams, gymnastics prodigy Simone Biles, and actual dolphin swimmer Katie Ledecky. The USA is one of the world leaders in women’s sports, and we should be showing that off!
5) SHE’S CARLI FREAKIN’ LLOYD
She scored a hat trick in the World Cup final. Has Michael Phelps done that? No. Michael Phelps has never scored in a World Cup final. I mean, check this out: