After players on the U.S. women’s soccer team kneeled in support of Black Lives Matter before their game opener at the Tokyo Olympics Wednesday morning, the ladies were crushed by Sweden in a 3-0 loss.
The loss breaks a 44-game winning streak for the U.S. While The International Olympic Committee (IOC) previously banned protests at the games, there was a shift in rules that permitted the players to engage in activism. The IOC still bans its social media personnel from posting any content of such activism on its official accounts, but teams and media captured and shared the moment.
MORE CONTEXT: Photo taken of the U.S. women’s team kneeling in black lives matter jackets during the national anthem right before the olympic soccer game; they lost 3-0 to Sweden. pic.twitter.com/11tVF52Ydx
— Shaun Kraisman (@ShaunKraisman) July 21, 2021
Team USA entered the games as the number one ranked team in the world, whereas Sweden sat at number five. This is not the first time Sweden handed the Americans a loss. In 2016, Team USA lost in the quarterfinals to the women on penalty kicks.
“The United States came out stale, with its best chance of the opening half coming in the final moments when Rose Lavelle’s shot hit the post,” the Associated Press noted. “Coach Vlatko Andonovski made changes for the second half, subbing in Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis.”
Sweden’s team also knelt for BLM. “The demonstrations were pre-planned,” according to Yahoo! Sports, “as they have been before various international soccer matches for over a year now as collective statements against racism and other forms of discrimination.”
Prior to a game against the Netherlands last November, players kneeled for the national anthem and wore BLM jerseys.
The women’s team will play in New Zealand Saturday. Megan Rapinoe, team captain and outspoken feminist, did not mince words when asked about the loss.
“We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” she said.
Rapinoe is the star of an HBO documentary on her dismissed lawsuit alleging unequal pay between male and female athletes.
The title of this article has been updated for clarity.