Repentant Hope Solo sees Zika chants as ‘fun’


Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Outspoken USA women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo shrugged off as “fun” the abuse she faced from Brazilian fans angered by extravagant social media posts showing her precautions to avoid the Zika virus at Rio 2016.

A two-time Olympics gold medallist with the all-conquering Americans, Solo was roundly booed during the USA’s opening 2-0 win over New Zealand in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday and even taunted with “Zika” chants.

Last month Solo posted a picture of herself with a mosquito net over her head and a huge bottle of insect repellent in hand with the message: “Not sharing this!!! Get your own! #Zikaproof #Road to Rio” on her Twitter account.

“I do not usually understand what happens around the stadium, because I am very focused on the game,” she said.

“But I think the fans just want to have fun in the stadium, I understand.”

Solo has been quick to backtrack on previous comments regarding the dangers of competing in Brazil.

The 35-year-old told Sports Illustrated in February she was seriously considering not taking part in the Games due to her plans to have children with NFL player and husband Jerramy Stevens.

Zika is linked to microcephaly — a shrinking of the brain and skull — in babies born to mothers infected with the virus.

“I heard that there were some negative responses here in Brazil,” she said ahead of the tournament.

“I never would want to offend the host country. In fact, I’m cheering for Team USA, but besides Team USA, I’m going to be cheering for the host country.

“I’m very grateful for them for hosting the tournament. Honestly, everybody around here has been so just nice and genuine and it feels very warming to be here.”

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