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Michelle Akers’ Olympic, World Cup gold medals being auctioned

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Michelle Akers‘ gold medal from the 1996 Atlanta Games, where women’s soccer debuted at the Olympics, is being auctioned from Sept. 23-Oct. 19 on GoldinAuctions.com.

The collection includes 60 lots of memorabilia consigned by the Hall of Famer, including all of her major tournament gold medals — 1991 World Cup, 1996 Olympics and 1999 World Cup.

It also includes her 1996 Olympic final match-worn jersey and shorts. The catalog, consigned by Akers, will be posted online on Sept. 22, according to Goldin.

A portion of the proceeds benefits the Michelle Akers Horse Rescue and Outreach Foundation.

Akers previously put memorabilia up for auction on eBay in 2015, though it’s unclear whether the Olympic and World Cup medals were among the items and, if so, if they were sold.

Akers played 153 matches for the U.S. from its inception in 1985, scoring its first goal, through 2000. She retired as its second-leading goal scorer with 107 behind Mia Hamm. She is now tied for fifth with Alex Morgan behind Abby Wambach, Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Carli Lloyd.

At the 1996 Atlanta Games, a 30-year-old Akers was the second-oldest U.S. player to see match action. She received regular post-match IVs to combat a blood pressure disorder associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. “I consider this an out and out miracle,” she said of the gold medal.

Akers made the 2000 Olympic team, where she would have been the oldest player of the tournament, but retired two weeks before the Games, needing shoulder surgery. Akers also underwent at least a dozen knee surgeries in her career.

She was named FIFA Player of the Century along with Chinese Sun Wen in 2002.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

MORE: Germany will not defend Olympic women’s soccer title

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Caster Semenya signs with soccer club

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Caster Semenya plans to play competitive soccer next year. Whether she races on the track again is unknown.

Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion, said she signed with a South African club with the intent to play competitive matches in 2020. She played the sport in her youth before becoming a world champion in 2009 at age 18.

“I am looking forward to this new journey, and hopefully I can contribute as much as I can to the club,” she said, according to a press release.

Semenya made this move after a Swiss court ruled in late July that she can’t in her best events while she appeals a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision that upheld the IAAF’s new rule that bars her. Semenya took that ruling to mean that she won’t be able to defend her world title in Doha in three weeks.

“This will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all of the female athletes concerned,” she said in a July 30 statement.

The IAAF rule that Semenya is trying to strike bars her from races between 400m and the mile unless she takes testosterone-suppressing measures, under which she would be allowed to return to those distances after six months. Semenya refuses to take those measures.

Semenya first appealed to CAS, which on May 1 ruled in favor of the IAAF. Semenya then appealed the CAS decision to the Swiss Supreme Court, which at first allowed her, but not others with her condition of difference of sexual development (DSD), to compete pending the appeal’s outcome.

Semenya has won 31 straight 800m races dating to 2015. All three Rio Olympic 800m medalists have said they are affected by the new rule. Semenya raced once while the Swiss Supreme Court allowed her to, winning the Pre Classic on May 30.

“First chapter of my life done, looking forward to my second chapter,” Semenya tweeted on July 30.

Semenya intimated her move to soccer earlier this week with Instagram posts of a soccer ball, kit and cleats.

MORE: Michael Norman says no 200m-400m double for Olympics

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Germany will not defend Olympic women’s soccer title

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The German women’s soccer team was eliminated from the World Cup and from defending its Olympic title on Saturday.

Sweden’s 2-1 win in the World Cup quarterfinals ensured that these will be the European nations at the 2020 Olympics — Great Britain, Netherlands and Sweden.

In a change from 2016, there is no separate UEFA Olympic women’s qualifying tournament; only the top three countries from the World Cup go to Tokyo, which ended up being the three teams that reached the semifinals along with the U.S.

So the world’s second- and fourth-ranked teams (Germany, France) will not be at the Olympics. The top-ranked U.S. can qualify for Tokyo at a CONCACAF tournament in 2020.

Germany beat Sweden 2-1 in the 2016 Olympic final to join the U.S. and Norway as the only nations to win Olympic women’s soccer gold.

Norway is the only other nation to fail to qualify for the Olympics after winning the women’s soccer title four years earlier, missing the Athens 2004 event.

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