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2012 Summer Olympics: Christine Rampone Ready To Lead USA Women's Soccer To Another Gold Medal

Team captain Christine Rampone is preparing for another gold medal run with Team USA women's soccer. Can they win their fourth gold medal since 1996?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19:  Soccer player Christine Rampone attends the 32nd Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on October 19, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Soccer player Christine Rampone attends the 32nd Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on October 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
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This year's Team USA Women's Soccer team has plenty of expectations on its shoulders, many of which were put there by the team itself. The team has won gold medals in three of the last four summer Olympics, going back to 1996. The 1996 gold medal and an unforgettable 1999 World Cup win put the sport on map. Fort Lauderdale native Christine Rampone, also the team captain, is the last link to the 1999 World Cup winning squad.

After a disappointing finish in the World Cup, Rampone is preparing to lead her team to Olympic redemption. To her teammates, Rampone is the ideal leader for the task at hand.

Midfielder Heather O'Reilly explained to ESPN:

"Sometimes there might be a lot of opinions about how to play in a scrimmage or play a certain style, and Christie seems to always have, not necessarily the loudest voice, but the one that garners a lot of respect, and I think that it's just the perfect tone for the team."

Team USA plays its first game on Wednesday, July 25, against France. The gold medal and bronze medal matches are scheduled for Aug. 9.

For a complete schedule of events and dates medals will be awarded, visit NBC Sports' official Olympic website. For complete coverage from the 2012 London Olympics, keep checking this StoryStream and visit SB Nation's Olympics hub.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.