• Saturday Aug 11, 2012

    Mexico & the U.S. - Olympic Champions!

    When journalists, fans, players and coaches put into perspective the Olympic-sized achievements of the United States women and Mexico men in London, the similarities between the gold medalists will quickly become evident.Their remarkable quantities of determination, dedication, skill and desire were on exhibit for the entire world to appreciate.

    For CONCACAF, though, the 2012 Olympic Football Tournaments proved to be extraordinary as well…it is the first time in Olympic history that two teams from the same confederation won gold in men's and women's football.

    Additionally, of the six football medals available in London, CONCACAF teams brought home three (Canada defeated France 1-0 for bronze in women's football on Thursday).

    CONCACAF President, Jeffrey Webb, was delighted with the results.

    "I want to congratulate each of CONCACAF's representatives at the Olympics and especially our gold medal winners from the United States and Mexico," said Webb, following the men's final."They, along with the bronze-medal winning Canadian women and the quarterfinalist Honduran men, performed brilliantly."

    "CONCACAF is the confederation of Olympic champions."

    Men's and women's football have been contested in the same Olympics on five occasions, starting in 1996.

    The U.S. women have captured gold four times (including three straight), while in 22 previous editions of the men's tournament (according to FIFA records, the first official competition was held in 1908 in London) no team from CONCACAF had ever finished first; that is, until Mexico made its mark on Saturday.

    For the U.S. women, occupying the highest position on the Olympic podium has become familiar, but never taken for granted.The climb has always been challenging.

    "We put so much of ourselves in this," said US forward Abby Wambach, describing what it takes to become a champion once again. "We sacrificed our families and friends.

    "This means everything to us."

    Mexico can add this title to the others it has attained at the FIFA level: 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.

    Head coach Luis Fernando Tena framed his team's accomplishment elegantly: "We've learnt to always show Mexico in the best possible light, as well as believing we can win. And that's what happened. There's been an attitude change in Mexican football. Today we've set the bar very high for the next generations. The level of expectation is going to get higher and higher."

    And nobody would want it any other way.

    Congratulations, to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Honduras…and thanks for the wonderful journey.

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