For Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe, engagement can lead to more Olympic history

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Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe are engaged, according to the Seattle Storm, after Bird’s Instagram appeared to break the news. Bird and Rapinoe, already icons in their sports, can make more Olympic history together.

They could become the first known married same-sex couple of U.S. athletes to compete at an Olympics, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon of the OlyMADMen.

Previously, soccer players Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger wed. Though Harris and Krieger each made the Rio Olympic team, Harris, a backup goalie, did not play in a match.

Other famous Olympian marriages included one American and one athlete from a different nation, such as hockey players Meghan Duggan and Gillian Apps and Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette. Or British field hockey players Helen Richardson-Walsh and Kate Richardson-Walsh, who were part of a gold-medal team in Rio.

Bird and Rapinoe could also become the first married couple of U.S. Olympic champions in different sports, Mallon said.

Previously, swimmer Charlie Hickcox and diver Lesley Bush were married (and then divorced). But, technically, they competed in different disciplines of the same sport of aquatics.

Other famous married Olympic champion couples either competed in the same sport (such as Al Joyner and Florence Griffith-Joyner) or for different countries (such as Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf).

Should Bird and Rapinoe get married before the Tokyo Games — and each be selected for the U.S. Olympic team — they could become the first known U.S. married couple to compete in different sports at the same Summer Olympics.

Four years ago, runner Ben True and triathlete Sarah True attempted the same feat, but Ben failed to qualify for the Olympic team.

Bird and Rapinoe first met at a November 2015 NBC and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee media summit in West Hollywood, Calif.

They later spent time together at the Rio Olympics and, in fall 2016, began dating. They went public in July 2017.

Bird will likely play in her fifth and final Olympics in Tokyo. At 40 years old, she will be three years older than the current oldest U.S. Olympic basketball player in history (Tamika Catchings from Rio).

It could also be the last Olympics for Rapinoe, who turns 36 next July.

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