Four years ago in Beijing, Carli Lloyd scored a goal in extra time against Brazil securing a gold medal and a spot atop the podium for the American women. This summer in London she’ll give everything to reclaim gold for her teammates and her country. In fact, gold is not “an” option, it is the “only” option.
1. Four years ago, you scored the Gold medal winning goal in Beijing. Reflect on that moment a bit. Have you found that the memory has resurfaced a bit more now that the London games are getting closer and closer?
The goal I scored was the biggest highlight of my career thus far. Of course that is what everyone goes back to when talking about the Olympics but that is behind me. I am looking forward to bigger and better things in London this summer.
2. Talk a little bit about your partnership with Shannon Boxx in the midfield. How has it grown and developed? What makes it work?
I think we have a mutual respect with what we are both great at and we balance each other out. Shannon has more of a specific defensive role and I have the freedom to get myself higher up the field and in goal scoring situations.
3. So many vital aspects of the game go through the midfield; both ends of the pitch are linked, possession is key, tempo is created and lost. How much do you feel that how well you play in the midfield affects the play of the team and the overall game?
I think what people don’t realize is that being a center mid your game has to be on or the game could be lost. There is no room for much error. We are the engine that keeps the team moving and clicking so of course I play an important role and I am fully aware that when I have a good game the game seems to flow better.
4. Though they may not consider themselves young, there are a number of young players on the team in Tobin Heath, Lauren Cheney, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux. Whose game inspires you the most? Who have you learned the most from playing with thus far?
I think we have a lot of young players who bring their very own unique style of play and it all works in this environment. I enjoy playing with all of the young players. They have exceptional soccer sense tactically, are great with the ball at their feet and they are hungry for success.
5. Has the loss to Japan in the World Cup final last July left your mind throughout the past year, or would you say it’s a major element fueling you going into London?
Yes it definitely has. It has to. One of the biggest challenges at this level is moving on and learning from previous games, and learning to respond with a great game and win the next time you play. I respect Japan but look forward to playing against them as we have mutual respect that brings out an outstanding game every time we play against them.
6. Is representing the US in the Olympic Games the highest accomplishment for an athlete?
No doubt. Any chance that I get to represent my country on a world stage it’s a dream come true. But at the Olympics we have the entire country behind us and not just soccer followers as it is in the World Cup.
7. In your eyes, as a top competitor in your sport heading into London, is winning gold simply a goal, or is it the only option?
Winning gold is all I want. That’s what it’s all about. Winning Gold is the sole reason my teammates and I are there.
8. Aside from competition, what makes the Olympic experience so memorable?
Every athlete has been training for four years to get to this stage and it’s so cool to see and hear different stories of different athletes competing for that gold medal. There is so much pride and sacrifice that goes into being an Olympian. Once an Olympian always an Olympian.
9. Throughout your career, did the accomplishment of participating in the Olympic Games always seem attainable?
Not at first. I always thought it would be an amazing accomplishment but didn’t start believing in myself until after college. Once I made the WNT I started to believe and dream that it will happen and wanted it even more.
10. Is there a special camaraderie that exists between fellow Olympians? If any member of Team USA were to win a medal, would it be as if you won it as well?
Yes, we are all at the Olympics to win Gold for our country. I am sure we all want to win Gold personally but we are all proud of any American that brings home a Gold medal. I will always cheer for fellow Americans. That’s what it’s all about. We are One.
We will continue our 2012 Team USA / London Olympics Interview Series all month leading up to the start of the Games. Find all the interviews and more Team USA coverage on the DoubleGSports.com Team USA page.