Megan Rapinoe and girlfriend Sue Bird are getting plenty of attention after Team USA took home the Women’s World Cup title, with one columnist calling the pair “America’s Best Sports Couple.”
Rapinoe helped lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to a win on Sunday over the Netherlands in the World Cup Final, with Rapinoe playing the surprise hero. As the Los Angeles Times noted, Rapinoe wasn’t even expected to start on Sunday due to a lingering hamstring issue but ended up not only playing but nailing a penalty kick in the 61st minute to help the United States reach a 2-0 victory.
The report noted that Rapinoe was the “heart and soul” of the two consecutive World Cup champion teams, but her girlfriend has gotten plenty of spotlight as well throughout the team’s run. Sue Bird is one of the most accomplished players in WNBA history and a Team USA star in her own right. Bird has led the women’s Olympic basketball team to four gold medals — three more than Rapinoe, who helped lead the U.S. Olympic team to one gold.
As NBC Sports columnist Marcie Bianco noted, the pair may be among the most accomplished athletic couple of all time. Between the two, they have:
- 5 Olympic gold medals
- 4 FIBA World Cups
- 3 NCAA championships
- 3 WNBA championships
- 2 FIFA World Cup
Bianco noted that both Rapinoe and Bird rise to the top because of their advocacy as well.
“But there’s more to being a sports power couple than just athletic prowess,” she wrote. “You have to have that intangible authenticity. In this case, Rapinoe and Bird rise above the rest in large part because of their politics.”
Sue Bird called out President Trump for not inviting a women's team coached by a black woman to the White House but having no issues with a team coached by a white woman.— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) July 2, 2019
More: https://t.co/m1qjP4eoFi pic.twitter.com/nvHrV0z59O
Those defiant politics were on display over the course of the World Cup, when Rapinoe defiantly said she would not be visiting President Donald Trump in the White House if the U.S. team took the World Cup title. Bird penned a guest column for The Players Tribune titled, “The President F***ing Hates My Girlfriend,” that stood behind Rapinoe’s stance.
The two got plenty of attention, with many sharing pictures of the two together and praising their advocacy for gay women in sports and paving the way for other athletes who will come after them. Rapinoe in particular has been a stalwart for greater acceptance, not just in women’s sports, but men’s as well, which have traditionally not been as accepting of LGBT athletes.
Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird have been in the spotlight before, including posing topless together on ESPN’s Body Issue.