Basically, Julie is rapidly climbing my list of girl crushes, 'cause she's the total bomb dot com. So I give to you...
1. A little over a week ago, I had the whole of the USOC's archived Olympic footage at my fingertips. (And yes, it was as glorious as it sounds. I'll give you one guess as to which year I perused first.) I happened across some of Julie's highlights from Vancouver 2010, and I kid you not, I was watching them with my mouth hanging open. It was beautiful hockey. She's kind of epic. Just look at these goals! (And I couldn't even find my favorite example on YouTube. The struggle of being privy to exclusive footage.)
2. Girlfriend has four Olympic medals (three silvers and a bronze) and has been on four Olympic teams. I mean, I'm not the best at math, but I'm pretty sure that's like an A+ success rate. She's apparently tied for the second most decorated American female winter Olympian ever, right behind Bonnie Blair (who has six medals). Buuuutt, Bonnie Blair was a speed skater and had more events and therefore more chances to medal, whereas in hockey, you've got one medal opportunity in each Olympics. Bonnie also benefitted from the 1992/1994 quad switch, which gave her three Games in six years (1988, 1992, 1994). So the fact that Julie is up there with her is kiiiiind of a big deal.
3. When Julie was on her first Olympic team, I was in fifth grade. I watched her compete in Sochi while almost a year removed from graduating college. W H A T. I can only dream of being that good at something for that long!
4. Julie saw fairly limited ice time in Sochi, which is a pretty significant change from previous years in her career. But it was well publicized that she fully embraced her new role as a team veteran, and she was on the ice for penalty kills (aka SUPER IMPORTANT TIME). And she was the one rallying her teammates after they lost gold. While receiving the silver medal in Vancouver, Julie was one of the players wiping tears away during the ceremony. But immediately after the team lost the gold medal game in Sochi, Julie was the person everyone gathered around for a keep-your-head-up talk. If life was a novel, this would be called fantastic character development.
5. She was Team USA's flag bearer during the Sochi closing ceremony. Flag bearers are voted on by their fellow athletes and are chosen based on their story and the amount of respect others have for them. For instance, past flag bearers include Dan Jansen, Eric Heiden, Bonnie Blair, Gary Hall... kind of a big deal.
And I TOTALLY CALLED IT, the second I saw her at the center of that post-game huddle. No biggie. I'll make sure not to break my arm patting myself on the back.
6. She went to Harvard. So, that's pretty self-explanatory. (But in case that doesn't speak for itself, listen to her do an interview. Girl has the eloquence to prove it.)
7. BUT, she's not relying on her hockey nor her Harvard to get her through the rest of her life. She was one of the athletes that attended the recent Olympic & Paralympic Athlete Summit, which provided "professional development tools" and "covered topics: careers, financial management, personal development and education." And she spoke on a couple of panels there too.
Is this when you know you've made it in life? Casually standing on stage with the President as he gives a speech?
In conclusion, if you're not living a Julie Chu appreciation life, you're doing it wrong. :)