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Before Taking The Ice, Olympian Gives Thanks For Family


And finally this hour, a U.S. Olympic athlete in her own words. Kacey Bellamy plays defense for the U.S. women's hockey team. This is her second trip to the Olympics. She was on the team that made it to the final round in Vancouver in 2010. They lost to Canada, 2-0. Bellamy grew up in Westfield, Massachusetts. And as she prepares for this year's games, she took some time to reflect on the role her family has played in her career.

KACEY BELLAMY: I guess my favorite memory of living in Westfield is growing up skating on the pond, playing street hockey with my brothers and neighbors. And I think that that's really where the passion started. You don't understand it, how much your parents spend and how much they just support and go through until, you know, you're out of college. You understand how much hockey skates are, how much hockey sticks are, the gas they put in the car, the snack bar after the game, can I have a dollar here, can I have a dollar there and how much you just actually play for the programs that you're in going to prep school.

Luckily, my brothers and I got full scholarships to college because if that wasn't the case, then we probably really wouldn't be going to college, or we'd have to have our own student loans, and I don't know if I could handle that. But definitely my little sister has been the trooper in all of this because she obviously has had passion for other things, not hockey, but she couldn't do them because we were so busy with our hockey life.

And, you know, she's got, you know, the biggest heart in our family. And honestly, she's so supportive and I thank her so much for that. But my parents have been, honestly, the two best people in my life, and I would not be the person or player that I am if it wasn't for them. And I understand now all the sacrifices that they have made, and I wish I knew that at a younger age.

BLOCK: That's U.S. Olympic hockey player Kacey Bellamy. The U.S. team's first game is this Saturday against Finland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.