American sisters compete for 2 different Olympic hockey teams

Two sisters, two Olympic hockey teams

Marissa and Hannah Brandt have teamed up all their lives, but at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the sisters are taking the ice for two different teams: Hannah for Team USA and Marissa for the unified Korean team.

"Getting the call to go to Korea was just something I couldn't say no to. I found myself saying yes right away. And then the opportunity to be in the Olympics just happened. And I really can't believe we are here now," Marissa said. "Being able to represent my birth country? It's just amazing. It's just something I never could've dreamed of."

Born in South Korea, Marissa was just 4 months old when she was adopted by an American couple, Greg and Robin Brandt. Her new home was 6,000 miles away in a picturesque suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, reports CBS News correspondent Dana Jacobson.

Marissa and Hannah Brandt Brandt Family

She grew up playing hockey. So did her younger sister Hannah, who is considered one of America's best young hockey talents on a U.S. roster packed full of expectation.
"It's a dream come true to be there, and to be there with my sister too, and just I want to enjoy every second of it," Hannah said.

While Hannah and Marissa are now competitors on the ice, that wasn't always the case.
"We were able to play on the same team pretty much every year growing up. And just spent a lot of extra time together that we might not normally have been able to," Hannah said.

Hockey brought them closer together, she said. Connected by their love of the game, that bond lasted while each played college hockey for different schools – and now for different countries.
"It's kind of like fate for it to have worked out the way it has. I don't think either of us could've ever dreamed of it," Hannah said. "And I think for my parents, too, it's just, they're just so proud of both of us, and excited for the journey that's ahead."

"Can you explain the pride you must feel?" Jacobson asked their parents.

"You know, one for the U.S., I mean, that's, you know, you just -- so prideful in that. And then Marissa representing the home country of Korea and her birth country? Just unbelievable," father Greg Brandt responded.

"We had always hoped we'd be able to go [to South Korea] as a family but with all the hockey and everything we've done… it just never happened that we got to go together," mother Robin said. "So it's really special to get to go over now and, you know, go to the Olympics and see where Marissa came from. And we're gonna spend some time with her, and she's gonna show us around. And so it's really unbelievable."

(L to R) Robin, Hannah, Marissa and Greg Brandt Brandt Family

Marissa said spending time in South Korea while training for the Olympics has helped her embrace both the country and its culture – that she has become more accepting of herself and her roots. She will wear a jersey that says "Yoonjung," the Korean name she was given by her birth mother.
"I think that name isn't very common in Korea," Marissa said. "Maybe my birth mom will come forward, and maybe read my story and kind of put two and two together and maybe say something."

"If you could say something to your birth mother, what would you say?" Jacobson asked.

Marissa paused.

"I don't know," she whispered. "It's gonna make me cry."

"Maybe that I'm just thankful that she put me up for adoption and kind of wanted a better life for me, is something I'm thankful for," Marissa said, choking up. "Yeah, just thankful to grow up here and have the parents that I do, so, yeah."
Not to mention her sister, Hannah.
"If there was a Brandt sisters' goal, what would that be at the Olympics?" Jacobson asked.

"I guess just to enjoy every second of it. Embrace all the little moments that happen at the Olympics," Hannah said.

"I think it would be fun to play each other. You know, it's not impossible. But a lot would have to happen to do that. But I think just for us it's just to have fun, represent your country well," Marissa said. "There are not many women Korean hockey players. So for me just to be a role model to them. And I'm sure that's the same with my sister, just to be a role model, and hopefully have young ones look up to you, and just see that hockey's fun."

Now, the only chance for the Brandt sisters to meet on the ice at the Olympics would be if their teams play each other in the gold medal round, and South Korea is a long shot for that.

But the sister connection in Pyeongchang is strong. The U.S. women's hockey team also has a set of twin sisters, and the Swiss team has two sets of sisters.

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