As a member of the Canadian women’s ice hockey team, Cassie Campbell competed in three Olympic Winter Games: Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002 and Torino 2006.
At the Nagano Games, Campbell earned a silver medal with the Canadian team, and four years later at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games she led the Canadian women to an Olympic gold medal in her role as captain. The Brampton, Ontario native was selected as captain again during the Torino 2006 Winter Games when the women won Olympic gold.
Now retired from her competitive hockey career, Campbell is a rinkside reporter for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s Hockey Night in Canada. She regularly engages in charitable work and continues to give back to amateur sport.
The Olympics always seemed an impossible dream for me and I never thought that I would ever make it there as a female ice hockey player.
When I envisioned myself as an Olympian it was always in a different sport, whether as a rower or track and field star, but never in the sport that I loved the most.
There is no question that I feel like the luckiest person to have represented my country in three Olympic Winter Games as a hockey player. I always watched the Olympics when I was growing up, both summer and winter, and I dreamt of one day getting a chance to compete at an Olympics.
I remember vividly my first Opening Ceremony in Nagano, Japan when I walked into the stadium and had this out-of-body experience. I could literally see myself sitting at home in my family room with my family watching me walk into the Olympic Stadium. It was an overwhelming feeling of pride and also of fulfillment. I recognized that my life long dream was coming true.
The medals will always be treasured, and it was an amazing feeling when we won two gold medals in succession - first in Salt Lake City and then in Torino. That said, I think the true highlights of my career as an Olympian are the fact that women’s hockey became an official Olympic sport, and also that so many young girls are playing the game now.
One of the most incredible moments at the Olympic Winter Games is when you get a chance to socialize and be alongside the other athletes from different sports. It’s a chance to connect finally as one group from all these various sports, with that realization that you are more than just the women’s hockey team representing your country. Touching base with other athletes and learning what makes them so successful was always a priority for me when I was competing.
And I will always remember the amount of fun we had cheering on different sports. Watching the results of the day’s events gave me a sense of pride and more motivation to perform my best for my country.
For the women’s hockey program, each Olympic Winter Games was a different adventure. At the first Games in Nagano in 1998 we lost the gold medal, but for those of us who moved on, it was that event that made us who we needed to be to change the colour to gold in 2002 in Salt Lake City. The adversity we faced as a group in 2002 made winning our country’s first gold medal in women’s hockey so exhilarating and so much more special than had we not faced the adversity. To win that medal as a team under such adverse conditions makes that medal my favourite of the three.
In 2006, we simply dominated. It was by far the best and most professional team I had ever played on. As a group, we sent a message that our program is not satisfied with results from yesterday and that winning and taking the women’s game to the next level is a priority.
As I have moved on to other adventures after retiring, my Olympic experiences will remain so important to me. I not only became a better hockey player over my career, but I also learned to become a better and more complete person.
In Their Words is a celebration of the two-year countdown to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. This 17-part series is comprised of personal stories written by Olympians and leaders with a passion for the Games. Visit vancouver2010.com every day from February 12 to 28 for a fresh story of inspiration, triumph and hope.