Mia Hamm helped the USWNT to the 2004 Olympic gold medal. (Wade Jackson/YCJ Photo)
By Michael Lewis
It was a sight that you don’t see every day: The head of the sports governing body giving a kiss to championship international soccer player.
No, wer’re not talking about Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso during the trophy and medal ceremony at the Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia on Saturday.
It happened 19 years ago at the 2004 Olympics.
After Mia Hamm completed an interview with reporters in the Hyatt Regency lobby in Thessaloniki , Greece on Monday afternoon Aug. 16, 2004, FIFA president Sepp Blatter planted a kiss on the cheek of U.S. international forward and then wished her well in the Olympic women’s soccer tournament.
“I’ll see you in the final,” a smiling Blatter said.
To which Hamm replied: “We’re going to try.”
After Hamm wished Blatter a safe trip to Austria to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Austrian Football Federation, Blatter replied, “And you win and score goals.”
Hamm was graceful during the incident and did not make an issue of the kiss, at least not publicly.
The complete transcript of the encounter:
Blatter: “I couldn’t leave this country without . . .”
Blatter then planted his kiss.
Hamm : “Hi! Good to see you.”
Blatter: “I’ll see you at the final.”
Hamm : “We’re going to try.”
Blatter: “I have to go to Austria for the 100 year [celebration] of the Austria Football Federation. But I’ll be back at the end of the week. I’m sure you’ll still be in the competition.”
Hamm : “We’re going to do what we can. Thank you so much.”
Blatter than talked about the yellow-card situation.
Hamm : “Have a safe trip.”
Blatter: “And you win and score goals.”
Hamm: “Thank you, Mr. Blatter. Thank you very much.”
The U.S. went on to win the gold medal, defeating Brazil in the final
While the kiss wasn’t in front of the world, on the lips or recorded on film or video, I am wondering if FIFA knew of that incident or did anything about it.