Families play a very important role in the lives of Olympians. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to identify many athletes who don’t credit at least one family member for their success. And a lucky few Olympians even get to compete alongside their siblings.
That’s exactly the debut Olympic experience for two sisters playing hockey in PyeongChang. Marissa Brandt plays for Korea’s first women’s Olympic hockey team. And her younger sister, Hannah Brandt, plays for the United States.
Marissa was born in South Korea, and Greg and Robin Brandt adopted her as an infant. Hannah was born about 11 months later. Here’s an adorable photo of the sisters as children:
The sisters grew up playing hockey on the same teams. Marissa played defense and Hannah was a forward. Now, they both get to fulfill their Olympic dreams together.
“This is for women and girls and anyone dreaming this is where you want to be,” their father, Greg, told Twin Cities Pioneer Press. “And to have both Marissa and Hannah to be able to do this, it’s an absolute dream come true for us.”
Marissa and Hannah won’t face off on Olympic ice in PyeongChang, so their parents won’t have to choose sides (phew!). The Korean and United States teams were in separate groups in preliminary matches and Korea is out of the medal hunt. However, it does make for a busy cheering schedule for mom and dad, who traveled to PyeongChang to support their athletic daughters.
And there has been plenty to cheer about. Marissa had the assist on Korea’s very first goal in Olympic history. Meanwhile, Hannah scored her first goal on Olympic ice last Tuesday. She helped lead Team USA to a 5-0 victory over the Olympic Athletes of Russia.
This week, Team USA moves on to play in the semifinals, while Korea plays for seventh or eighth place. Korea lost its three preliminary games, but won for Olympic spirit. The team brings together 23 South Korean and 12 North Korean athletes.
“They’re really nice and friendly, even though I can’t talk to most of them because I don’t speak Korean,” Marissa told TeamUSA.org. “We still smile and hug each other every day.”