Gold Medal Call

By Mark Gilbert

Sports excite fans regardless of their region. From the die hard fans no matter what the outcome of their team’s season to the bandwagon fans that fall in love with the team that is experiencing the most succeses. A lot of emotion and excitement accompanies all sports. One of the most hated aspects of the sports world by all fans is the crucial missed foul or penalty that occurs at a critical moment of the game. We see it often in basketball where the referee misses a traveling call on the last second shot, or in football where the referee misses the defensive offside call. Just imagine if that missed call changed the whole outcome of the game.
August 9, 2012, the United States and Japan women’s soccer teams went head to head in the gold medal match of the 2012 Olympics. The U.S. took the lead early over Japan with a goal from Carli Lloyd giving the U.S. a 1-0 advantage. Japan responded with a goal of their own within the 17th minute of the match with a goal of their own (USsoccer). Homare Sawa slipped the ball past the U.S. goalkeeper, Hope Solo. Already with one goal, Carli Lloyd one ups Japan’s goal with another goal of her own in the 54th minute making the score 2-1, U.S (USsoccer). Japan miss two penalty kicks in the 25th minute but a handball call committed by Tobin Heath was made (SBNation). This resulted in Japan receiving a third attempt at a free kick. Japan converts the free kick tying up the game at 2-2. Early in the second half, the U.S. was again penalized for Rachel Buehler tackling a Japan player, resulting in another free kick (SBNation). Japan converts the second free kick, giving Japan a 3-2 advantage over the U.S. These two penalty kicks completely changed the whole momentum of the game allowing Japan to capitalize off U.S. mistakes making Japan 2012 Olympic gold medalists.
What actually happened in the London 2012 Olympics, women’s soccer gold medal match between the United States and Japan was this; two powerhouse programs met in the championship game and competed to expectation. During the 25th minute of the match, Japan attempted two penalty kicks. Following a free kick, USA’s Tobin Heath clearly handles the ball with her hand and is not penalized for it. Early in the second half, Rachel Buehler tackles a Japan player and also is not penalized for it. If these two penalties are called, Japan would have most likely been given two opportunities at a free kick. The final score of the match was 2-1 with the United States coming out victorious. Going back to the two missed penalties, Japan should have had two free kicks. If Japan makes one, the game is tied, making both would result in Japan being gold medalists. Those two crucial missed calls potentially changed the outcome of the London 2012 women’s soccer gold medal match.
Above there are two scenarios of how this gold medal match could have went. Did the uncalled handball call by Tobin Heath and the Rachel Buehler not being carded for the tackle, change the outcome of the game completely? One could argue that these missed calls really did not effect the outcome of the game because Japan struggled to get the ball past Hope Solo for the majority of the match. Though Japan also missed a few opportunities to score, the two free kicks that they should have been rewarded could have resulted in two more points. We see jaw dropping endings in sports all the time. It was not impossible for Japan to get two penalty kicks, converting both and being London 2012 Olympics Gold medalists. While human error is part of any game, the dynamics and discussion change when you consider what might have been.

Work Cited

“USA Vs. Japan, 2012 Olympics: Americans Win The Gold.” N.p., 09 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

“U.S. Women’s National Team Earns Fourth Olympic Gold Medal with 2-1 Victory Against Japan in Front of 80,203 at Wembley Stadium.” N.p., 9 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.