U.S. Women's National Team defender Kelley O'Hara has been an anchor for the Stars & Stripes over one of the most successful periods in women's soccer history. She has an Olympic gold medal from the London 2012 Games (where she played every minute of the tournament), as well as two World Cup victories to her name. Off the field, the former Stanford Cardinal remains active, participating in several other sports when not suiting up for the USWNT or her NWSL club team, the Washington Spirit. She has also gotten into podcasting during the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting the "Just Women's Sports" podcast, and remains an active voice in the USWNT's pursuit of gender equity in soccer and beyond.
As part of our preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to a wide range of athletes to learn more about their lives on and off the field of play.
Here’s some of what we found out about Kelley O'Hara:
Where does your family come from?
My parents are from Pittsburgh. I am primarily Irish and British but have German, Polish, Croatian, Greek, and Italian in me as well.
How did your parents influence your athletic career?
My parents were the most supportive parents I could have asked for. They always encouraged me to do what I loved. I think a lot of my attitude and positivity comes from how I was raised. They always just expected us to do our best, but were never overbearing. They gave us a lot of autonomy in what we pursued.
Do you have a job outside of your sport?
Yes, started a fan leisure clothing line with two of my teammates, Alex Morgan and Allie Long, before the World Cup, called USA Beat Everybody.
Any military ties in your family?
My father was a fighter pilot in the Navy and my brother is now currently a fighter pilot in the Navy. He is stationed in Iwakuni, Japan and deploys twice a year on the carrier. Being raised in a military family and now having a sibling on active duty, I have a deep appreciation for the troops.
What does a typical training day look like?
If I am training, I usually wake up around 7:30 a.m. to 8:00. In season, I will have practice in the morning and sometimes a lift in the afternoon or some sort of recovery method. Out of season, I will have some combination of PT, lifting, conditioning, technical session and recovery.
What's your favorite workout?
Practice... Working out is better with a soccer ball involved!
What is your diet like?
I eat primarily plant based. A typical day of eating looks like oatmeal with peanut butter and a banana for breakfast with black coffee. Some sort of grain bowl for lunch or big salad, and same for dinner. As many veggies and fruits as possible with a good amount of healthy carbs to go with it.
What is your earliest memory playing soccer?
I remember my first practice of muppet soccer at age 4. The coach told us we were going to learn how to "dribble" and I remember thinking, 'I thought soccer was played with your feet not your hands.' Thankfully I learned how to dribble with my feet. I think I just love the team aspect of soccer, it's a game that can never be mastered, it's a creative sport that isn't based on running certain plays, and I love competing.
Earliest memory of the Olympics?
I remember watching gymnastics in the 1996 Olympics. It was my first memory of seeing sports on television and I remember thinking how cool it was to be on tv competing in a sport, and I thought to myself that I would do that one day.
Are you friends with any of your competitors?
Marta from Brazil, Ali Riley from New Zealand, Sam Kerr from Australia.
Any of the top countries but Canada is probably our biggest "rival" just because of the number of times we play each other and the proximity. All our rivals are friendly but also contentious!
Do you play any other sports?
Love to surf and snowboard! And I love playing tennis. I think playing a number of sports helps to keep you athletic and not just sport specific athletic.
Do you have a nickname?
KO. S lot of coaches called me that, especially my coach at Stanford, Paul Ratcliffe.
Any hidden talents?
I am really good at handstands.
Personal motto or favorite quote?
This too shall pass.