Hope Solo is not known for her social graces.
On Friday, following the U.S.’s narrow defeat in soccer, she told reporters she thought the Swedish team members were “a bunch of cowards” and “the best team did not win today.”
Full Hope Solo quote on Sweden after US was eliminated from the Olympics today. pic.twitter.com/UZVCAeur6m— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) August 12, 2016
Solo, herself, chimed in on Twitter with a non-apology.
As USA Today points out, this isn’t the first time Solo’s made remarks that were less than sensitive. Even before her dig at Sweden, Solo’s Twitter jokes about Zika earned her plenty of booing and jeers.
But her most famous comments came after she was benched during the 2007 World Cup. Brazil beat the U.S. 4-0 and, in an epic display of poor sportsmanship, Solo went against her own teammates boasting that “there’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves.”
Not what you’d expect from such a talented athlete. While Solo has made valid points about equal pay for women, her general pattern is to piss people off both aggressively and frequently.
So, what gives? What is Hope Solo’s deal, exactly?
The podcast features discussions of “the least essential sports literature of all time.” From O.J. Simpson to Jerry Tarkanian, the podcast takes listeners on hilarious and entertaining deep dives of sports memoirs, and the Hope Solo episode is no exception.
We learn quite a few fascinating pieces of information from the co-hosts’ reading of Solo: A Memoir of Hope. Firstly, there’s the fact that Solo went to a high school in Richland, Washington, home of the world’s first plutonium reactor. The school’s sports team was nicknamed the Bombers, and the logo was a mushroom cloud. And if that’s not enough, the school-sanctioned chant at sports games was, “Nuke ‘em, nuke ‘em, nuke ‘em til they glow.”
But the real star of the episode is Solo’s father, a man who had two wives who were both named Judy Lynn, had been accused of murder, and had temporarily lived in the woods next to Solo’s high school soccer field in a makeshift tent.
Solo’s father also revealed to a young Hope that his real last name wasn’t Solo—it was Di Matteo. As Bitzegaio points out, Solo, in all likelihood, is the child of a man who saw Star Wars and decided to change his last name.
According to the podcast, the book also features an entire chapter where Solo complains about having to delay the book’s publication because her then-coach Pia Sundhage, now Sweden’s coach, did not want the book released prior to the World Cup. Hmm. We can’t imagine why.
But seriously, all factoids considered, Solo’s tendency to blow up at folks makes a little more sense. If your dad was a Star Wars enthusiast who “never let you forget” that one soccer game where you got scored on, you might be mad too.
So, if you’re curious about why Hope Solo is the way she is but don’t want to do the actual labor of reading her memoir, the episode is definitely worth a listen.
Obstructed View is available on iTunes.