Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida; Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama; Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida; Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, District of Columbia; Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia
Date Started: July 21, 1996
Date Finished: August 1, 1996
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to single-elimination tournament of four teams.
After 96 years, women footballers were finally allowed to compete at the Olympics. With no restrictions on entry, the tournament effectively became a second World Cup. That tournament had only been established in 1991, with the US winning the first edition and Norway taking the title in 1995. With only the English team failing to qualify from the World Cup's quarter-finalists, the tournament had a high standard of play. As expected, Norway won its pool, but the other favourite, the US, was held to a draw by China and placed second on goal difference.
This pitted the two strongest women's teams against each other in the semi-finals. After 90 minutes, both had scored once, and the match went into golden goal overtime. After just five minutes, [Shannon MacMillan] sent her team to the final. The China-USA rematch was a close affair watch by a record 76,000 crowd. Tiffeny Milbrett sealed the match with a second half goal. One of the most remarkable names in the tournament was the shirt name of Marileia dos Santos: Michael Jackson. She picked the name not only because she liked his music, but because she claimed her "dancing" abilities on the field matched Jackson's.