Long live Queen Marta!
Mia Hamm, ageing, exhausted and draped in the stars and stripes, was enjoying the glory of one last gold medal following the final match of the Olympic Women's football tournament in Athens. It smacked of the end of an era. And as she scanned the mass of humanity milling about the pitch, she picked out one fallen foe in particular - Marta, Brazil's extravagantly talented number 10. Whispering unknown words into the teenager's ear, the embrace looked every bit a profound and fitting moment of passing and communion.
Hamm, who since the early 90's has stood so faithfully and ably at the forefront of the women's game, found her status wilfully challenged at the foot of Olympus this past summer in Athens. Still only 18, the Dois Riachos native displayed to the world all of her bustling pace, sultry skills and a brimming, irrepressible confidence at the Games as her side made a remarkable run through the competition -- ended only after a Herculean effort from the U.S. in the cruel extra-time of the final.
|Marta and Mia Hamm - passing the torch?|
'Where did she come from?' many fans and opponents found themselves asking. Join FIFA.com as we find out and look back at the emergence of Queen Marta - female football's new glamour girl - as she gets set for Thailand 2004 and the junior tournament where she first announced her arrival on the scene.