Hope Solo: Olympics Gold Medalist who Lives Life at Her Own Terms

Hope Solo

Hope Solo is an American soccer goalkeeper and a double Olympic gold medallist. She has posed nude for ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue and admitted to bedding a celebrity at the 2008 Bejing Olympics. She is in list of AskMen.com’s Most Desirable Women 2013 in the world. She is one of three players in the USA team who played all 570 minutes in all six matches at 2012 Summer Olympics. Hope Solo released her autobiography Solo: A Memoir of Hope, the autobiography debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times hardcover non-fiction best seller list, the highest ever for a soccer book.

Hope Amelia Solo is from Richland, Washington who currently plays for Seattle Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League. She has been goalkeeping for the United States women’s national soccer team since 2000. After playing for University of Washington, she played in Women’s United Soccer Association league, a Swedish league and a French league. She played in Women’s Professional Soccer league during its entire existence from 2009 through 2011; for the clubs Saint Louis Athletica, Atlanta Beat and magicJack. Since 2012 she has played for the Seattle Sounders in W-League.

Solo is regarded as an excellent goalkeeper. Her benching during the 0–4 loss to Brazil in the 2007 World Cup semifinal was thought to have contributed to the firing of U.S. national coach Greg Ryan after the tournament. In 2011, she participated in Dancing with the Stars, and posed for various magazines, most notably the “Body Issue” of ESPN The Magazine. Before the 2012 London Olympics, Solo was warned after she tested positive with a banned substance from a prescription medicine. After the 2012 London Olympics, where she received her second Olympic gold medal, she published her best-selling autobiography Solo: A Memoir of Hope.

Solo was born in Richland, Washington on July 30, 1981. Her father Jeffrey, of Italian descent who grew up in the Bronx, was a sometimes-homeless Vietnam War veteran. It was Jeffrey who taught her how to play soccer. Although her parents divorced when she was six and she lived with her mother, Solo maintained a close relationship with her father, who continued to be a major influence in her life until his sudden death of heart failure in June 2007.

Solo was the starting goalkeeper for the United States in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, giving up two goals in four games including consecutive shutouts of Sweden, Nigeria and England. Heading into the semifinal match against Brazil, U.S. coach Greg Ryan benched Solo in favor of 36-year-old veteran U.S. keeper Briana Scurry, who had a strong history of performance against the Brazilians but had not played a complete game in three months.The U.S. lost to Brazil 4–0, ending a 51–game (regulation time) undefeated streak, while playing much of the match with only 10 players after midfielder Shannon Boxx received two yellow cards at the end of the first half.

On June 23, 2008, it was announced Solo would be the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In a reversal of roles from the 2004 Olympics, Briana Scurry did not make the team, though she was an alternate. On August 21, the U.S. women’s team won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1–0 in extra time, in no small measure due to Solo’s performance as she stopped an energetic Brazilian attack, making save after save. After the team won gold, Solo appeared on NBC Today Show, and she stated in a 2012 article appearing in ESPN The Magazine that she was drunk while on air. “When we were done partying, we got out of our dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m. with no sleep, went on the Today show drunk.”

Hope Solo
Despite missing much of the qualifying campaign with a shoulder injury, Solo was named to the U.S. roster for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. After keeping clean sheets in group C wins over North Korea and Colombia, Solo conceded two goals in the 2–1 loss to Sweden which consigned the Americans to second place in the group and a quarterfinal meeting with Brazil.

The quarterfinal match between the U.S. and Brazil was sent into a penalty shoot-out after U.S. forward Abby Wambach tied the game at 2–2 in stoppage time at the end of extra-time. Solo saved the third Brazil penalty kick by Daiane, helping the U.S. secure a semifinal spot against France. After the quarterfinal victory, Solo commented on the performance and spirit of the U.S. players during the match, “Even when we were a player down and a goal behind in extra time, you sensed that something was going to happen”, and added that “[the team kept fighting. You can’t teach that. It’s a feeling – and we play with that feeling.”

Solo became the twenty-seventh American woman, and second goalkeeper, to reach 100 caps with her start in the 3–1 semifinal win over France. Talking to the media after the match, Solo reflected upon the tournament so far, “It was a hard-fought road It hasn’t been easy, but this is where we expected to be. We came this far, we better go all the way.”

In the final, the U.S. team lost 3–1 in a penalty shootout to Japan, after twice taking the lead in an eventual 2–2 draw. Solo expressed admiration for the Japanese team and offered her congratulations. Solo won the “Golden Glove” award for best goalkeeper, and the “Bronze Ball” award for her overall performance. She was also featured in the “All-star” team of the tournament.

Leading up to the Summer Olympics, Solo received a public warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after a June 15 urine test concluded the banned substance Canrenone had been detected. Solo said in a statement she had been prescribed a pre-menstrual medication and was not aware it contained any banned substances. She cooperated with the USADA and provided them with the necessary information to prove that it was a mistake. Her story checked out and she was cleared with a public warning. The positive test did not require Solo to withdraw from any pre-Olympic matches.

In a 4–2 defeat of France in the opening match, France took an early 2–0 lead in 15 minutes. After Abby Wambach reduced the lead to 2–1 with a 19th minute header off a Megan Rapinoe corner kick, Solo assisted Alex Morgan at the 32nd minute to score and level the match at 2–2; she took a free-kick sending the ball to Morgan who kicked the ball after a bounce, over goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi into the goal.

On August 9, Solo won her second Olympic gold medal with the United States women’s national soccer team. In a 2–1 defeat of Japan in the final match, Solo made many saves, including a 82nd minute save of a powerful shot from Mana Iwabuchi, which could have tied the match. Solo kept three clean sheets, two in group-stage against Colombia with 3–0 and Korea DPR with 1–0, and a 2–0 win against New Zealand in the quarter-final. She conceded 6 goals, 3 in the aforementioned matches against France and Japan. Three goals were conceded to Christine Sinclair in the semi-final, a thrilling and controversial 4–3 extra-time last-minute win against Canada.

Hope Solo

International Awards

  • Algarve Cup (5): 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
  • Four Nations Tournament (3): 2006, 2007, 2008
  • CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup (1): 2006
  • Olympic Gold Medal (2): 2008, 2012
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Runner-up: 2011
  • Individual Awards
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Glove (1): 2011
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Bronze ball (1): 2011
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team (1): 2011
  • WPS Goalkeeper of the Year (1): 2009
  • U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year (1): 2009
  • Do Something Award – Athlete (1): 2012
  • Phoenix Mercury Woman of Inspiration (1): 2012
  • Hall of Game She’s Got Game Award (1): 2012
  • Sports Spectacular Female Athlete of the Year (1): 2013


Solo was a contestant on the Autumn 2011 13th season of Dancing with the Stars television series. Her partner was Maksim Chmerkovskiy and she was eliminated in the semi-final round.

On August 14, 2012, after the London Olympics, Hope Solo released her autobiography Solo: A Memoir of Hope coauthored with sports columnist and commentator Ann Killion and published by Harper Collins. In her book she provided her accounts of incidents with former U.S. national coach Greg Ryan, and her Dancing with the Stars’ partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. She recounted her integration into the U.S. team with established players like Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, and Julie Foudy. Hope also revealed details of her early life.


Hope Solo said about her nude photo shoot in an interview “I was so nervous. It took so long! We were outside and they were watering down the street and kept working on the lighting, and it was like the anticipation before they release you out of the tunnel to go play. I had so much adrenaline. And they were taking so long, so I finally just dropped my robe and I sprinted in the middle of the street, screaming naked! I just needed to feel what it was like. And it was very liberating. At the very beginning of the nude shoot, I was definitely covering myself up a bit. But they are so professional at ESPN, no one was staring, they always kept eye contact the whole time. By the end of it, I was totally comfortable”.



The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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