Hilary Knight has dreamed of this moment for most of her 21 years. After finally realizing her Olympic dream, the Hanover, N.H., native said that experience not only met her wildest dreams, it far surpassed it.
“It was a great event and I was happy to be a part of it,” Knight said. “It lived up to my dreams. In fact, tonight exceeded them. It’s hard to sum it up in one word, but if I had to that word would be magical.”
Knight’s teammates, both Olympic newcomers and veterans alike, echoed her enthusiastic sentiments.
“That was unbelievable,” exclaimed U.S. goaltender Jessie Vetter. “I had goose bumps when USA was announced.”
The U.S. Team arrived at the stadium early and began playing the waiting game in the bowels of GM Place. They killed time taking photos and talking to other U.S. athletes. Finally, it was time to step out of the tunnel and into the spotlight.
“I remember walking out of the tunnel and seeing all the bright lights and hearing a huge roar,” said Knight, who marched in toward the back of the pack with her teammates.
“I had a huge rush of adrenaline and thinking to myself, ‘wow, this is incredible. There are billions of people around the world watching us right now.’”
As she made her way around the track, Knight tried to take it all in as best she could.
“I opened my flip cam to take some video but remember thinking that I wanted to take it all in and not see it through a viewfinder,” she said.
For four-time Olympian Angela Ruggiero, marching in the opening ceremony never gets old.
“That is what being an Olympian is all about,” she said.