U.S. women’s national soccer team player Kelley O’Hara rescued the American flag from the ground after the U.S. team’s victory against the Netherlands in the World Cup final on Sunday.
O’Hara quickly snatched the flag from the ground, unbeknownst to her three teammates as they posed for a photo after one of them dropped and stepped on the flag.
Midfielder Allie Long initially dragged the flag on the ground, and when she turned toward a camera to pose alongside Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, she dropped the flag at her feet for the photo op and can be seen stepping on it.
O’Hara ran up from behind them, ignoring the photo op as her intention was clear – get the flag off the ground as quickly as possible.
The moment prompted a social media firestorm as users called out Long for the disrespectful act during a moment of American celebration, and also took the time to praise O’Hara for her quick thinking.
Former Green Beret Nate Boyer called O’Hara “the HERO of the World Cup.”
For real though, @kelleymohara
is the HERO of the World Cup! For the record I doubt @ALLIE_LONG had bad intentions, just lacked some situational awareness in the moment…
Kelley O’Hara RESCUES the American flag after teammate drops it during victory dance https://t.co/2t1DFRYIaY
— Nate Boyer (@NateBoyer37) July 8, 2019
British media personality and business woman Katie Hopkins tweeted, “To the lady good enough to pick up the American flag from under the cloven hooves of these animals – thank you ma’am. Kelley O’Hara?”
To the lady good enough to pick up the American flag from under the cloven hooves of these animals – thank you ma’am. Kelley O’Hara? pic.twitter.com/U48iLeqfVP
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) July 8, 2019
O’Hara actually suffered a head-to-head collision with a Netherlands player in the first half of the game and was pulled from the game at halftime due to symptoms indicating a potential concussion, SB Nation reported.
— The18 (@the18com) July 7, 2019
“I’d run through a brick wall if necessary. That’s what I was trying to do,” O’Hara said after the game.
The team has not yet commented on the flag incident.
Their Twitter account has been flooded with celebratory images, videos and tweets, all touting patriotism.
One Goal. One Nation. One Team.
All of U.S.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 7, 2019
O’Hara previously won the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and also won a Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The Fayetteville, Georgia native has been photographed previously while paying tribute to the national anthem.
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She also previously posted a photo of an American flag hung informally in the team house.
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O’Hara also made headlines for kissing her girlfriend after the team’s victory, which some have viewed as the first public confirmation of her sexual orientation.