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For Megan Rapinoe, Boldness in the Spotlight Is Nothing New

Megan Rapinoe has been one of the U.S. national team’s most recognizable figures for much of the last decade.

PARIS — The interview room was packed with reporters and television cameras. Fox Sports went live with a telecast, as if it were covering a presidential news conference. In an indirect way, it was.

Then Megan Rapinoe, the star forward for the United States women’s soccer team and a social activist, stood her ground. At a regularly scheduled news conference for the team on Thursday, she reiterated that she would refuse to visit the White House if the Americans won the Women’s World Cup, regardless of President Trump’s criticism of her via Twitter on Wednesday.

That move probably didn’t surprise anyone. It is difficult to imagine an athlete who appears more assured in her views and comfortable in the spotlight than Ms. Rapinoe. She has, after all, dyed her hair lavender for the tournament, a sign of her willingness to stand out.

Recently, she became the first openly gay athlete to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She and her partner, the basketball star Sue Bird, last year became the first gay couple to be featured in ESPN’s Body Issue, in which athletes pose without their clothes.

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