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U.S. Women Loving Life In Golden Glow Of The Olympic Spotlight

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – It’s been a blur, a whirlwind of celebratory hugs and tears of joy, calls with friends and family members back home and an endless string of interviews. All those interviews.


It’s funny how a team that had so little to say on its march to get here now can’t stop talking about what it took to get to this golden moment. And who can blame them?


“This team has gone through so much and stood for so much and ultimately wanted to achieve this goal together. And we did that,” said team captain Meghan Duggan, who has stood tall in front of the cameras through good times and not-so-good times to speak for this tight-knit group.


“I don’t think that we would be sitting here today if we had not gone through some of the things that we did. It definitely made us closer. It also bonded us as a group and united our country. We’re so proud to be sitting up here today. It’s the greatest moment of our lives.”


And judging by the break-neck pace they’ve been going at since slipping out of their skates, that moment looks like it could last for quite a while. They have been pulled in so many directions it’s been hard to know who’s coming and who’s going as they crisscross the Olympic complex as part of a massive media tour, from appearing on the set of the Today Show to conducting interviews with NBC outlets back home.


They still managed to carve out family time at the USA House, where everyone wanted their pictures taken with the golden girls. Amanda Pelkey slipped away to hit the slopes at the YongPyong Ski Resort, and Duggan and Brianna Decker spent 45 minutes on the phone in an emotional call with former teammate Julie Chu. 


“She was crying on the phone, we were crying on the phone. Just what a moment and to share that with her was just fantastic,” Duggan said.


Somebody hacked into Maddie Rooney’s Wikipedia page and changed her status to “Secretary of Defense.”


“That’s funny,” she said, “but I wouldn’t call myself that.” Her teammates quickly responded, “We would.”


As the celebration continues as they count down the hours until the closing ceremony on Sunday night, it won’t be long until they head home to do it all again.


When you’re an Olympic champion, everybody wants a piece of you. And these women are more than happy to oblige. Details are still being worked out to take this show on the road as they look to inspire the next generation of little girls in the same way the 1998 team did for these women. 


“You don’t get these by yourself,” Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said holding up her gold medal. “There’s a team behind the team. The support that we’ve had from friends and family for our entire lives is just indescribable.”


There will be plenty of time down the road to figure out what the future holds. After a stinging loss four years ago in Sochi, the Lamoureux sisters took some time to gauge whether their passion for the game would be enough to carry them through the next quadrennial. Fortunately for them, and everyone else, the answer was a resounding “Yes!” as they reunited to score six of the team’s 17 goals in the tournament, including the equalizer by Monique in the waning minutes against Canada and Jocelyne’s sick goal in the shootout.


That move, which was taught by her former coach at the University of North Dakota Peter Elander, was called “Oops, I did it again.” And while she has her sights set on starting a family with her husband Brent Davidson, there are plenty of U.S. hockey fans who hope that she will eventually decide to come back and do it again.


“We will take a year to kind of re-evaluate what we want to do, but I think if we still have a love and the passion for the game – which I think we still will – we will try to continue to still play and be on this team,” Jocelyne said. 


“For now, I think we will just enjoy this. It’s a moment that is once-in-a-lifetime and so we’ll just cherish these next couple of days and then kind of reevaluate down the road and see what we want to do.”


Shortly after four-time Olympian and former teammate Angela Ruggiero placed the gold medal around her neck, Monique told the throng of reporters that came out of the woodwork to share in the moment, that she planned to sleep with her gold medal. Instead she placed it on her nightstand, but never far out of reach.


Sleeping with it “was a little uncomfortable,” she admitted. “I only got a couple hours of sleep but otherwise it’s on my neck or in my pocket. I’m not letting go of it for a while.”


Duggan pleaded guilty to sleeping with hers, and Hilary Knight confessed that she hadn’t been to sleep yet. After 20 years of waiting, who could blame her. There’s so much celebrating to do, and not enough hours to do it all.


“I don’t think we’ve taken them off our necks yet,” Duggan said. “I don’t know why you would.”

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