When Carli Lloyd raced toward the corner flag after heading the ball into the back of the net, sliding on her knees, she glided in the same skid marks as some of the richest names in soccer.
Just like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Didier Drogba before her, roars from more than 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, the man cave of world soccer, washed over her.
Even in these Olympics, coming on the 40th anniversary of Title IX, where women in hijabs have come to compete, where women participants outnumber the men for the United States, where else have they shared footsteps and adulation?
"It was ... " Lloyd said, her voice trailing off as she searched for the words that might some up the moment. "I can't describe it."
Lloyd scored two brilliant goals, Hope Solo walked the walk after talking the talk and another controversial referee's call favored the United States as it survived a spellbinding Japan team for a 2-1 victory in Thursday's gold-medal game.
It was the United States' third consecutive gold in soccer and payback for last year's loss to Japan in the World Cup. But as much as this was a victory by one country over another, it was every bit a victory for women athletes.
It showed that though a women's soccer league has twice failed in the United States, there is a formula here -- a captivating team, a brilliant adversary, drama that is as unrelenting as it is unscripted -- that works in a country that still prides itself on having invented the game.
For some players like Lauren Cheney, preparing for a tournament like this means going to parks in Philadelphia looking for games to play. For others, like Lloyd, it means finding a trainer to work out with on her own.