Even after all she's achieved, Hamm touched by special honor
Posted: Sunday August 29, 2004 8:54AM; Updated: Sunday August 29, 2004 10:08AM
We asked the Sports Illustrated writers who covered the XXVIII Olympiad to leave us with their indelible memory of the Games.
Sometimes you're lucky in this business to be in the right place when the good stuff happens. Such was the case when I joined sports agent Dan Levy and a few of his clients at the Olympic Indoor Hall on the final Saturday of the Games for the U.S. women's basketball team's gold medal game against Australia. Sitting with us was Mia Hamm, whose international career had been capped two nights earlier by winning the gold medal with the U.S. women's soccer team.
At halftime of the basketball game, as Hamm graciously complied with every autograph request, US women's communication officer Aaron Heifetz took a call from the United States Olympic Committee. The vote had just been tallied and athletes had elected Hamm to carry the flag at closing ceremonies.
Hamm, well known for her composure, appeared stunned. Here was a woman who had accomplished everything you could imagine at her level, who had won every trophy and accolade available, and this one Olympic moment had her, as she said, "speechless." An hour later, as the US flag was lifted in acknowledgment of the women's basketball team's championship, Hamm stood and sang the national anthem proudly. There were goosebumps all around.