The United States Women’s National Team made their home country proud during the 2019 FIFA World Cup. Bringing home the world cup, celebrating in style, and standing up to criticism are all things that the USWNT has done to truly represent the American way on a global scale. And Megan Rapinoe has been the leader of the team, both on and off the court. She’s had support from teammates, coaches, fans in the stadium, American citizens, but most of all, her girlfriend, Sue Bird. The 3x WNBA Champion and 3x Gold Medalist make a strong power couple. They were the first openly gay couple to appear in ESPN’s Body Issue.
Rapinoe renounced her engagement to singer-songwriter Sera Cahoone about two years ago. Since her breakup with the stellar Seattle singer, she’s moved on to a new Seattle superstar of Sue Bird. Rapinoe stated in an interview about Bird that, “I joke she is my No.1 go-to-for-advice person. She’s just so level-headed.”
Success runs strong in this relationship. . In college, under the coaching of Geno Auriemma, Bird won two NCAA Championships. Bird plays basketball for the Seattle Storm, in which she brought home the WNBA Championship trophy back to Seattle last season. The 3x WNBA Champion and 11x WNBA All-Star knows what it feels like to break records. She’s the WNBA all-time assists leader. Bird also knows what it’s like to represent your country overseas. She’s brought home eight gold medals for the United States from Olympic Games and World Championships. As many WNBA followers know, most players spend most of the year playing in leagues overseas. She’s a 5x Euroleague Champion, 5x Russian National League Champion, and 2x European SuperCup winner.
Rapinoe has also had a successful career on the soccer field. She’s helped the US bring home gold medals in the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and at the 2012 London Olympics. Despite representing her country, Rapinoe has made a name for herself in the international world. In the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals against Brazil, she made a precise cross to Abby Wambach which resulted in an equalizer goal, and later helped the Americans win in a penalty shootout. That goal aided the USWNT to bring home the ESPN’s 2011 ESPY Award for Best player of the Year. During the 2012 London Olympics, she became the first player ever, male or female, to score a goal directly from a corner at the Olympic Games. In the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she became the oldest woman to score in a World Cup Final.
Aside from her success on the field, Rapinoe is an advocate for many LGBT organizations, such as the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Athlete Ally. She’s also been awarded the board of directors award by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Her performance on and off the court, and relationship with Sue Bird, aided the couple to be featured on ESPN’s Body Issue.
Alexis Pitchford is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network website. Follow her @AlexisPitchford on Twitter.