With some players, how they perform reflects who they are, and that's the case with Rapinoe. "She definitely has a unique style, and that's shown in her personality," says U.S. midfielder Lori Lindsey, an Olympic alternate. Lindsey and Rapinoe came up with an elaborate handshake they call the Wild Turkey (look it up on YouTube), and they conspired on Rapinoe's Springsteen moment. (Lindsey played air guitar.) You never know how Rapinoe might commemorate a goal, whether it's with a flying karate kick, a double-knee slide or by flashing a piece of tape bearing a birthday wish for injured teammate Ali Krieger, as she did last Saturday.
Sports is supposed to be fun, after all. That, more than any revenge factor, is why Rapinoe is hoping to face Japan, which knocked off the U.S. in last year's World Cup final, in the Olympics. Last week's U.S.-Colombia game involved all sorts of ugly theatrics—Colombian midfielder Lady Andrade floored Wambach with a sucker punch—but the Japanese are different. "They're fun to play against, and there are no antics or craziness," Rapinoe says. "They foul you, and they're like, 'Sorry! Sorry!' " Sure enough, the U.S. and Japan were on course at week's end to meet in the gold medal game at London's famed Wembley Stadium. No scenario could be more enticing for Pinoe the American Original.