2018 Olympics: Minnesota hockey sisters competing for different countries in Pyeongchang
With Hannah playing for the U.S. hockey team and Marissa representing Korea, sibling rivalry abounds
Hannah and Marissa Brandt were raised under one roof, but in Pyeongchang's 2018 Games, they're a house divided.
Marissa was born in South Korea, but adopted at four months old. She was raised alongside Hannah in Minnesota. And even though the 25-year-old Marissa and 24-year-old Hannah are close, that won't stop them from competing against each other in the Winter Games. Marissa is playing for the newly unified Korean hockey team, which is in a different group from than Team USA, which Hannah plays on.
It's been a big change for Marissa to get to where she is. Although Hannah loved Korean culture growing up, Marissa once evaded it. "Our parents had us in Korean culture camp growing up and I remember my sister loved it because she loved the spicy food, the kimchi, bulgogi, everything like that," she said, via KMOV St. Louis.
"I really shied away from it. I didn't really want to embrace being Korean. I just wanted to fit in and look like my sister and not be different in any way."
For Hannah, it all seems like a dream. "You can't really script something like this," she said.
"It's crazy," Marissa concurred. "It's really nothing we could have ever dreamed."
One of the more interesting parts about their story is how easily it could have turned out different. Marissa was adopted by Greg and Robin Brandt in 1992 after the couple had trouble conceiving a child. Then, shortly after they got a photo, it was discovered that Robin was pregnant with Hannah.
"We couldn't have been happier because we figured, you know, what a joy it would be like having twins," Greg told CNN.
The two were separated leading up to the Games, with Marissa getting a phone call to try out in South Korea for the national team. Hannah stood out at the University of Minnesota, whereas Marissa played at Gustavus Adolphus College before joining the national team. For Hannah, however, the distance has never affected their relationship. "She's pretty much my best friend and I don't know what I would do without her," she told KMOV.
Their goals, of course, are very different -- and the odds of them playing each other are low. Korea would have to beat Sweden, Switzerland and Japan to make a sister face-off a reality. Team USA, meanwhile, is vying for gold. It's coming off of aagainst the , in which Hannah scored a goal with two minutes left after having one waved off earlier. Her sights are now set toward Canada, who have won gold in the last four Games.
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