As one of America’s sports legends headed into the sunset Thursday, she did it by showing the grit and drive that made America great.
Greatness has ridden on Carli Lloyd’s shoulder throughout her storied career with the U.S. women’s soccer team.
Even this week, when the American team’s dominance seemed to be in eclipse after a loss to Canada dashed any hopes of a gold medal, the 39-year-old Lloyd showed that champions never stop working.
As the media spotlight was focused on left-wing activist Megan Rapinoe, Lloyd was running sprints up and down the field in the kind of determination to win the next one that coaches only wish they could teach, according to Yahoo.
“Life has knocked me down a few times. It showed me things I never wanted to see. I experienced sadness and failures. But one thing for sure, I always get up.” #stillnotdone #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/B1f7f5PZWB
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) August 3, 2021
Then came Thursday’s match against Australia, one that Lloyd knew could be the last time she will play in an Olympics, ending a career that began with the 2008 Games.
She began it, as she did all of the team’s games, by being true to herself, regardless of what the rest of the pack was up to.
While others on the team knelt in a gesture they said showed their antipathy to racism, Lloyd stood alone.
That was nothing new. Even when her teammates would knee for the national anthem in protest, Lloyd was a model of poise and patriotism with her hand over her heart, according to Business Insider.
Carli Lloyd, the greatest Olympic goal scorer in USWNT history, stood alone before today’s bronze medal game: https://t.co/Df5BMgpiP0
— OutKick (@Outkick) August 5, 2021
Then she went out and made history.
Lloyd scored two goals to help the U.S. claim a bronze medal by beating Australia 4-3.
Her first goal in what was her 312th international game made her the first to score a goal in four separate Olympics and tied her for the U.S. women’s record of most Olympic goals, according to WCAU-TV.
Fun fact: @CarliLloyd has played in three Olympic medal matches. She’s scored in all of them (including two braces ??)
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) August 5, 2021
Her second goal — the eventual game-winner — put Lloyd in a class by herself, giving her the record with 10 Olympic goals.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 5, 2021
“I’ve never played to be top goal scorer anywhere,” Lloyd said after the game. “I’ve just been continuously climbing, continuously pushing limits, continuously just trying to hone my skills and get better each and every day.
“I’ve always wanted to be someone who determines when my career ends, and whenever that is, I’m going to walk away proud at some point. Just be proud of being part of this team, proud of representing my country, the crest.
“It’s been amazing. I just wanted to win, that’s really it. Win and be the best version that I can possibly be.”
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) August 6, 2021
Lloyd said the Olympics came with the realization that time was not on her side.
“I think that I’ve had a different mindset going into this one,” she said. “I haven’t made any official announcements yet, but obviously I am at the tail end of my career.
“Physically, I feel really good, but at some point, I have to hang up the boots and live life. And I know my husband is eagerly waiting for me to switch off because it’s been 17 years of just grinding away.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.