By Jessica Shambora
August 8, 2008

“My grandfather always gave me $1 for every goal I scored. He gave me $1.50 for every assist. He drilled into me that it’s better to give.”

— Brandi Chastain said this at Leading and Learning, General Electric’s

confab for its senior women execs and female customers in May. Remember Chastain’s game-winning penalty kick against China in the 1999 FIFA World Cup final–memorialized by her bra-exposing celebration? She was a star in the glory days of U.S. women’s soccer, playing on the 1996 and 2004 Olympic gold medal teams. But those glory days may be long past given the U.S. Olympic team’s opening-round loss on Wednesday to Norway, 2-0.

I ran into Brandi at the San Jose Airport last Sunday, and we had dinner this week in Manhattan. She’s here commentating for NBC during the Olympics. She’s 40 now, and has a two-year-old son, Jaden. Her husband, Jerry Smith, coaches the Santa Clara University’s women’s soccer team that she played on two decades ago.

By the way, Brandi thinks the U.S. Women’s soccer team can come back from their first-round defeat. But, she adds, “Having an Olympic Moment isn’t necessarily a step up onto the podium to receive a medal, but the humble knowledge that your participation has impacted another to give their all.” Good to keep in mind as you watch today’s opening ceremony.— Jessica Shambora

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