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Women of Wide World: Brandi Chastain
ABC Sports Online


Mia Hamm is the first lady of American soccer. Michelle Akers is the heart and soul (probably the only parts of her body that haven't been operated on), but the photo of 1999 and of all women's sports, was of Brandi Chastain after she won the Women's World Cup for the United States in 1999.

Brandi Chastain
Brandi Chastain takes off her shirt as she celebrates the win during the Women's World Cup Final against China in 1999.
The 5-foot-7 defender from San Jose, Calif., was a reserve forward when she first joined the U.S. National Team, but in 1996, she became a consistent starter when she moved to defense. She helped the U.S. win a gold medal that year at the Olympics in Atlanta.

In the '99 World Cup, Chastain was close to becoming the goat for the host team. In the quarterfinals against Germany, Chastain scored an own goal early in the fifth minute of the contest. She was able to redeem herself with the goal that tied the game 2-2.

But her greatest moment sparked a revolution for women's soccer. In the gold-medal game against China, a contest that went scoreless through 120 minutes of action, the outcome would be decided by penalty kicks. After Briana Scurry saved one China shot to give the U.S. the edge, Chastain clinched the victory with a blast and ripped off her shirt to reveal her Nike swoosh sports bra that captured the world's attention.

Just as softball was boosted by the U.S.' gold medal at the 1996 Olympics, Chastain's goal helped give soccer the promotion it needed to become a national phenomenon and create a new soccer league.

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