When Kendall Coyne made her first trip to the Winter Olympics in 2014 she wanted to take everything in. This time, she knows exactly what she needs to do.
“Being the second time around, it feels more like a business trip,” Coyne told the Sun-Times.
Coyne, 25, is a forward for the U.S. women’s hockey team that will compete in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In 2014 in Sochi, the Palos Heights native had two goals and four assists in the tournament, but the U.S. lost 3-2 in overtime in the gold-medal game against rival Canada. Up 2-0 in the third period, the U.S. allowed two goals in the last 3:26 of regulation before Marie-Philip Poulin’s game-winner 8:10 into overtime.
RELATED STORIES Joyous moment latest positive for Julie Ertz Schweinsteiger signs one-year deal to return to Fire
“I remember the feeling I had afterwards and the amount of work that we put in day in, day out to come out on top,” Coyne said. “This is a business trip and you want to enjoy the Olympic Games and enjoy the experience, but at the end of the day we have a job to get done and that’s what we’re going there to do.”
This year, there is only one acceptable result for Coyne and her teammates.
“A successful tournament will be a gold medal. The Blackhawks couldn’t have put it any clearer: There’s one goal,” Coyne said. “It’s been [20 years] since the U.S. has brought home a gold medal. It’s been a while. We obviously know that. That’s in the back of our minds. I think we all have a greater purpose of bringing home a gold medal than just the color of it.
“It can be an amazing moment and that’s what we’re striving for.”
The Americans haven’t won gold in women’s hockey since the event’s inaugural year in 1998. Coyne has dreamt about winning gold since seeing Cammi Granato’s medal from that year.
Coyne still remembers the impact that moment has had on her life. In South Korea, Coyne has the chance to do for others what Granato did for her.
“My entire life was defined from that one moment,” Coyne said. “I think that’s what’s my driving force is behind winning this gold medal, knowing the impact it can have on others, and the impact it can have on our sport and the future generations of our sport as well.”
Follow me on Twitter