When the U.S. women's soccer team meets Japan in Olympic gold-medal game on Thursday (2:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN), the Purity Fans will finally get their day after a women's Olympic tournament that has been defined in large part by the Just Win Baby Fans.
Think about it. In these Olympics we have seen Colombia's Lady Andrade sucker-punch the U.S.'s Abby Wambach in the face away from the ball (drawing a two-game suspension). We have seen Canada's Melissa Tancredi stomp on the head of the U.S.'s Carli Lloyd (drawing no punishment whatsoever). We have seen Japan coach Norio Sasaki admit that he told his team not to score in its last group game, the better to finish second in the group and avoid having to travel for its next match.
We have seen Canada coach John Herdman try to influence the officiating (and get in the heads of the U.S.) by announcing the day before the game that the Americans perpetrate "highly illegal" tactics on set-pieces. And, not least, we have seen Wambach stand next to the referee and count down the seconds the Canadian goalkeeper was holding the ball, persuading said ref to call a game-changing infraction that you basically never see in an elite-level match.
U.S. women’s soccer team to get $1.5 million bonus, more games if it wins gold
USA Today reports that USSF president Sunil Gulati has announced that the team will split a $1.5 million bonus if it beats Japan, while an unspecified but smaller bonus will be paid out in the event of a loss. The bonus shares will be prorated and "the expectation is that the money will be split by the 18 players on the current roster, a pool of about a dozen reserves and training staff."
This payout would be in addition to the U.S. Olympic Committee's standard bonus structure of $25,000 for any athlete who wins a gold medal, $15,000 for a silver and $10,000 for a bronze. These numbers are dwarfed by Italy's world-leading $182,400 bonus for each of its gold medalists (there have been seven at the time of this writing) and Russia's bonus of about $135,000. Host nation Great Britain, meanwhile, isn't paying out any medal bonuses at all.