Alex Morgan scored 14 goals in a 12-match stretch from January to late May 2012, including three straight two-goal efforts. She earned her first career hat-trick on March 7, 2012, during a 4–0 victory against Sweden in the third-place match of the Algarve Cup. In June 2012, she was nominated for an ESPY Award as the Best Breakthrough Athlete.
In the opening match of 2012 London Olympics group play, Morgan scored both the equalizer and the goal that sealed the win against France. In the next three Olympic matches, she assisted on the match-winning goal, including two to Wambach.
Morgan scored the winning goal in the Olympic semi-final match against Canada in extra time, sending the United States to the gold medal match against Japan. Her goal came in the 123rd minute, the latest goal ever scored by a member of the U.S. women’s team and a FIFA record. The match-winning goal was Morgan’s team-high 20th in 2012, becoming only the sixth and youngest U.S. player to do so in a single year.
In the final, a 2–1 win against Japan on August 9, Morgan assisted on a Carli Lloyd header. She ended the tournament with 3 goals, and a team-high four assists (tied with Megan Rapinoe) and ten points (tied with Rapinoe and Wambach). To celebrate her achievements, she was honored at her former high school and the No. 13 jersey was retired.
In 2012, Morgan led the U.S. in goals (28), multi-goal matches (9), assists (21) and points (77). Her calendar year goals, assists and points totals are the third-best, tied second-best (one tally shy of record), and second-best, respectively, in U.S. WNT history. Morgan joined an exclusive club as she and Hamm are the only U.S. WNT players to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists in the same calendar year and became only the third and youngest player to reach 20 assists in a calendar year.
“The game was on Hope’s birthday, so we thought she needed some fun. Abby proposed that Hope would do the worm if anyone on our team scored. With the possibility of a worm-dancing goalkeeper in our future, the mood was light when we hit the field at Old Trafford. Abby scored in the 25th minute. Sure enough, Hope dropped to the ground and did the worm! Christie Rampone joined in, and we all grabbed hands and did a little worm wave with our arms. It was hilarious, and it brought us all together in the same way making those snow angels had done years before.” – Alex Morgan, “Breakaway - Beyond the Goal”.