TOKYO, Japan — The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team was on a bus in Tokyo this morning, same as all the rest of the Team USA Olympic athletes - but unlike they rest of the delegation, they weren't headed to the Opening Ceremony.
Star forward Megan Rapinoe joined Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie during the NBC broadcast of the Opening Ceremony to give a shout out from the team, who couldn't partake in the opening festivities for practical purposes: They had practice.
"Obviously we can't be there, I don't know who scheduled us to practice at this time," Rapinoe joked. "But everyone from Team USA will be holding it down for us."
She added that despite not being able to go to the Opening Ceremony, the Olympics are "always an unbelievable experience."
"Last year in March and April we were sitting here wondering if we were going to get this opportunity. It looks quite different and feels quite different than in the past, but all of us are thrilled to be here," she said.
Rapinoe's fiancée, the women's basketball legend Sue Bird, is one of Team USA's flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony. Rapinoe said it "means the world to her."
"I feel like I get to share in it, even though I'm not deserving enough to be the flag bearer," she joked.
Later at their hotel, the USA women had their own Opening Ceremony:
They also took a team photo with their Opening Ceremony uniforms:
The women's soccer team is intensely focused on their next game tomorrow against New Zealand, after they fell flat in a 3-0 loss to Sweden on Wednesday to start their Olympic campaign.
"Not great," Rapinoe said with a laugh when she was asked how the team has been doing in the wake of the loss.
"We don't lose very often and we definitely don't lose like that very often. Luckily in Olympics we play what seems like every other day," she said, adding that "we need to take care of business" against New Zealand.