U.S. women's national team's Kelley O'Hara says an Olympic boycott is a "last alternative" in the team's quest to achieve equal pay.
The U.S. women are locked in a wage dispute with U.S. Soccer, claiming wage discrimination and filing a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. U.S. co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn went as far as to say a boycott of the summer Olympics is on the table in order to make sure the players' demands are met, though it is not the desired solution.
Speaking with SI Now's Maggie Gray on Wednesday, O'Hara said, "Nobody wants to do that. That's our last alternative. At the end of the day I want to go to the Olympics, everyone wants to go, we want to be a part of it, being able to win a gold medal is one of the most incredible feelings in the world, so it's our 'Plan Z,' essentially."
Should the U.S. go, one of the new players in the mix is rising star Mallory Pugh, who has caught O'Hara's eye.
The 18-year-old Pugh has made the most of her appearances with the senior national team on the road to the Olympics and has made her case thus far for one of the 18 tickets to Rio that manager Jill Ellis will be handing out.
O'Hara has been most impressed by the professionalism exhibited by Pugh, who just turned 18 last month and has scored twice while being involved in a handful of other goals in 2016.
"She's fantastic. I'm so proud of her, she's been doing such an incredible job," O'Hara said. "I honestly don't know how she does it. She is so young, and I remember being 18 I don't think I'd have been able to have the composure and professionalism that she's had. I'm really excited to see her continue to grow."
Watch O'Hara's full interview in the video above.