Mia Hamm joined the United States national team at the age of 15 and scored her first international goal at 18. In 1991, she was a member of US team that won the Women's World Cup.
At the inaugural women's Olympic football tournament in 1996, Hamm sprained her left ankle in an early match, but missed only one game. In the final against China, the US won 2-1. Hamm's ankle was still so sore that she was unable to join her teammates in the post-match victory lap.
On 22 March 1999, in a match against Brazil, Hamm scored her 108th international goal to break the career record previously held by Elisabetta Vignotto of Italy. At the 2000 Sydney Games, Hamm helped the United States to qualify for the final by scoring the only goal in their semi-final victory over Brazil.
The most dominant women's football player of the 1990s, Hamm's play has continued to inspire young players around the world. At the 2004 Athens Games, Hamm and the American team won the gold medal, beating the Brazilian team 2-1 after extra time.