Beaming with pride as they strutted through the echoing corridors of the Beijing Workers' Stadium, the US Women's National Team, each with gold dangling around their necks, were the picture of justifiable pride. FIFA.com caught up with a few of them as they did their all to make sense of their 1-0 extra-time win over Brazil and a second straight gold medal for the Stars and Stripes.
"What a feeling. We stuck together through the whole tournament even though we had a couple of tough moments," said Shannon Boxx, grinning from ear-to-ear after her graft in midfield helped to see off the South Americans in a replay of the Athens 2004 final. "This game sums up all of our fighting spirit and commitment. We really respected Brazil and tonight they showed just how great and technical they are on the ball. We knew we had to defend as a team, because if we let it get to one-on-one situations we were going to have a hard time."
When asked how the most recent gold measures up to the one she earned four years ago, she can't see much point in comparing. "It's such a different feeling. They're both so special, but I'm just happy to have won with this team and this great bunch of players," she said.
Lindsay Tarpley, also winning her second gold, was just plain overwhelmed. "It hasn't really sunk in yet. I'm just trying to soak in the moment, the medals, the anthem, the great game. It's all just unbelievable," she told FIFA.com. "I'm so proud of this team, of the way we persevered through a lot of ups and downs. It's just amazing."
"Adversity made us stronger as a team. Tonight we fought for each other and came out on top. This is a dream," she went on.
Heather Mitts, the US defender who missed last year's FIFA Women's World Cup with a knee injury, was just as pleased. "It's amazing. This team and I have been through an amazing journey and I'm so excited," she said. "We had to work hard on defence today. We did what we needed to do against two of the best players in the world like Marta and Cristiane. I couldn't be happier."
Angela Hucles, whose hard running typified the USA's fight for gold, was right in line with her team-mates. "What a feeling. It's hard to describe. We worked so hard for this and I'm so proud of my team-mates," she near-shouted. "We had some hard times coming into the tournament, we lost our top striker, we lost our first game to Norway, but we came back and in the end we got what we came here for: a gold medal."
For the proud Americans, their Olympic dynasty is now official. With their second consecutive gold medals, they have won three of the four Women's Olympic Football Tournaments.