Hamm is retiring after a 17-year career


ATHENS, Greece -- Retiring soccer star Mia Hamm was elected
by her fellow U.S. athletes to carry the nation's flag in Sunday's
closing Olympic ceremony.

Hamm won her second Olympic gold medal this week when the U.S.
team beat Brazil in Thursday's final. She also was part of the 1996
gold medal team, as well as the 2000 team that took silver.

Hamm, 32, is leaving the game after a 17-year career in which
she scored a world-record 153 goals and helped the United States
win two World Cups. She will play her final games in a U.S. uniform
this fall during a celebration tour of exhibition games.

"This is emotional, and I'm truly speechless," Hamm said. "I
was expecting to be a follower tomorrow night, just to go wherever
I was pointed, and now I'm carrying the flag. It's a tremendous
honor and I thank my fellow Olympians for thinking of me."

Hamm is first soccer player ever chosen to carry the American
flag at an Olympics.