All but one of the US women's soccer starters knelt to protest racism ahead of the team's Olympic bronze-medal match

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All but one of the US women's soccer starters knelt to protest racism ahead of the team's Olympic bronze-medal match
Megan Rapinoe kneels before kickoff. AP Photo/Fernando Vergara
  • All but one of the US women's soccer team players knelt before the Olympic bronze-medal match.
  • Carli Lloyd stood as her teammates took a knee before kickoff - after the national anthem played.
  • Players from teams around the world have knelt during the games to protest racism and inequality.

Throughout the women's soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics, teams from around the world have knelt before kickoff to protest racism and discrimination.

The US women's soccer team has followed suit, and most of its players dropped to one knee ahead of their bronze-medal game against Australia's Matildas.

All but one of the US women's soccer starters knelt to protest racism ahead of the team's Olympic bronze-medal match
From left: USWNT players Christen Press, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Sam Mewis kneel ahead of kickoff. AP Photo/Andre Penner

The US soccer legend Carli Lloyd stood with her hands on her hips as the team's 10 other starters took a knee at Kashima Soccer Stadium on Thursday.

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All but one of the US women's soccer starters knelt to protest racism ahead of the team's Olympic bronze-medal match
Carli Lloyd stands as her USWNT teammates kneel to protest racism. NBC; Insider

The Matildas stood side by side with linked arms, while the US players, coaches, and staff members positioned on the sidelines to join the team's starters in kneeling.

The referees also knelt as a demonstration against inequality.

All but one of the US women's soccer starters knelt to protest racism ahead of the team's Olympic bronze-medal match
The USWNT bench kneels to protest racism. NBC; Insider

Lloyd has consistently found herself in the minority among the team on the issue of kneeling. US players knelt as the national anthem played ahead of various scrimmages in 2020 and earlier this year. But Lloyd never joined her teammates, opting to stand with her hand on her heart.

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At the Tokyo Olympics, all the US players stood during the anthem. Their kneeling came afterward, just before kickoff. Still, Lloyd stood.

All but one of the US women's soccer starters knelt to protest racism ahead of the team's Olympic bronze-medal match
Lloyd celebrates scoring a goal for the USWNT. AP Photo/Fernando Vergara

She and the pink-haired striker Megan Rapinoe - a face of the protest movement after kneeling in solidarity with the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 - each scored two goals in Thursday's match to lead the US past Australia and onto the podium.

The contest very well may have been Lloyd's last for the stars and stripes, and if it was, she closed her illustrious national-team career on a high note. With her brace, the 39-year-old became the leading scorer in US women's soccer Olympic history.

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