For Meghan Klingenberg, representing USWNT in the Olympics is about something bigger than herself

Klingenberg played for the U.S. at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

It's safe to say the U.S. women's national team has some unfinished business at the Olympics.

Since winning gold in four out of five competitions from 1996 to 2012, the USWNT did not medal in 2016 before claiming just a bronze in Tokyo.

Can the U.S. turn the tide in Paris? The 2024 Olympics should see a more well-balanced team in terms of quality and depth, with new manager Emma Hayes coming in from English side Chelsea.

But, while winning a medal is part of the Olympics equation, just being able to represent your country is something USWNT veteran Meghan Klingenberg holds high.

"My family was always very patriotic," Klingenberg said in an interview with NBCUniversal Local. "We truly won and lost with the Olympians. We would pick our favorite one and then we would watch Michelle Kwan back when she was figure skating in the Olympics and, like, ride or die with her."

Klingenberg played on the 2016 USWNT team that didn't medal for the first time in the sport in the country's history. But, while Klingenberg acknowledged the letdown that year, she said over time she became grateful for the memories the experience provided.

"For me, it was always about representing something bigger than yourself," Klingenberg said. "In Rio in 2016, at the time, it was a huge disappointment. But now, with some time, I think I'm so grateful that I got to go.

Learn more about the worlds of past and future Olympic and Paralympic athletes with our Chasing Gold series

"All I remember is the times with my family in Rio and the times with my friends and teammates where we were laughing. It's incredibly special to be a part of something like that, something that my family valued."

The USWNT for the Paris Games drew Germany, Australia and one of Morocco or Zambia in the group stage.

It's a group the U.S. has a solid chance to top, but it won't be straightforward with Germany and Australia emerging in recent years.

The 2024 Olympic soccer tournament begins before the opening ceremony in Paris on July 24. For the first time in Olympic history, the women’s final concludes the tournament on Aug. 10.

Venues for soccer at the 2024 Olympics include: Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Saint-Étienne and Lyon.

USMNT soccer legend Tim Howard as he delves into the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic soccer competition while addressing the challenges faced by U.S. Soccer on the Olympic stage.
Contact Us