Hamm is retiring after a 17-year career

Updated: August 28, 2004, 10:34 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press