Marking the first time any women's team has been celebrated in New York's famed Canyon of Heroes, thousands of fans turned out Friday for a parade honoring the U.S. women's soccer team's record third World Cup title.
The ticker-tape parade comes on the heels of another U.S. achievement: a return to the No. 1 spot in FIFA's rankings that were released this morning.
In claiming the top spot, the U.S. women dethroned Germany, whom they beat in the World Cup semifinals. The team is also continuing a remarkable streak: Since FIFA created its world rankings for women in 2003, the Americans' average position is No. 1, according to soccer's global governing body.
Today's parade lasted a bit more than an hour, with Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach and the rest of the 23-member team waving to screaming fans as they made their way from lower Manhattan's Battery Park to City Hall.
The last time a female athlete was honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York was back in 1960, when figure skater Carol Heiss Jenkins won Olympic gold at age 20.
This week, Jenkins wrote an open letter congratulating the women's soccer team, saying she had watched their games on TV — and adding that one of her granddaughters has earned a college scholarship for soccer.
"If you believe in something, write it down, because if you believe it, then it becomes a goal," she wrote. "Young girls have to have dreams and believe in those dreams in order to make them happen."
Jenkins concluded her note:
"Enjoy the moment. Look up at the buildings and the people above. The cheering fans should make you realize your accomplishment transcends just a score in a soccer game. Take it all in, as it goes by fast. This moment in time is very well-deserved, and I hope your day is as magical as the one I enjoyed back in 1960."