It was supposed to be an honor.
In a ceremony Monday night at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, U.S. soccer great Brandi Chastain was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. She was presented with a bronze plaque of her likeness, to be displayed at San Francisco International Airport.
Well, it was supposed to be of her likeness.
This is Chastain in 2017, at the Rose Bowl, where she famously scored the game-winning penalty kick at the 1999 World Cup Final.
This is the plaque of Chastain, winner of two World Cups and two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Chastain posed for pictures with the plaque, and almost managed to not visibly cringe. “It’s not the most flattering, but it’s nice,” she said.
The discrepancy between the athlete and the depiction was brought to national attention by San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Ann Killian.
“Brandi Chastain is one of the most beautiful athletes I’ve ever covered,” she tweeted. “How this became her plaque is a freaking embarrassment for BASHOF. Makes Cristiano’s look perfect.”
(She’s referencing Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, whose good looks have also proved weirdly difficult to translate into bronze.)
Soccer Twitter leapt into action, diptyching like there was no tomorrow. Didn’t the plaque look most like Eleanor Roosevelt?
Or perhaps that toothy smile was more reminiscent of former NFL coach Rex Ryan.
A very strong case was made for actor Gary Busey.
And for peanut farmer and president Jimmy Carter.
The outpouring worked its magic.
On Tuesday afternoon, Chastain told Killian that the Hall of Fame plans to redo the plaque.
They’ve asked “for a photo of my choosing, so I need to find one,” Chastain said.