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Brandi Chastain: cut from USWNT, bad role model … Icon

So much can be forgotten due to one really, really great photo

You know that expression “a picture is worth a thousand words”? That started because of Brandi Chastain. Probably.

You know the picture I’m talking about. She had just won the ‘99 World Cup with a penalty kick, and in a moment of unfiltered elation fell to her knees, ripped her shirt off, and screamed with a joy most of us can only hope to one day feel. Today, it’s universally regarded as a symbol of women’s strength, fearlessness, and ability.

And while some saw it that way at the time... many, very loud people, did not. Chastain was skewered as a bad role model for young women and forced to deal with conspiracy theorists swearing it was all a stunt for Nike, all while attempting to serve as the face of a brand-new, professional soccer league. But all of that was lost thanks to one image.

Let’s view this photo, and Chastain herself, through the prism.