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After Julie Chu ’07 tried out for the 2002 Winter Olympics her senior year in high school, her father made a bet that the whole family would get tattoos if she made the U.S. Olympic women’s ice hockey team.
Chu’s family kept their promise.
The day after the national team was announced, her parents, brother, and sister each got tattoos bearing the Olympic rings and Julie’s No. 13, according to NBC’s 2010 Winter Olympics Web site.
Chu deferred her acceptance to Harvard for a year so that she could compete in the Olympics in Salt Lake City, where she took home a silver medal.
Chu, the first Asian American woman to play for the U.S. Olympic ice hockey team, is now making her third Olympic appearance in Vancouver. As forward, she has led the team through an undefeated preliminary round. The U.S. and Canadian teams are currently one victory away from facing a long-awaited battle for the gold.
“She has that intangible fire in her belly to win and an exemplary compassion,” said Katey Stone, Harvard’s head women’s ice hockey coach.
Stone, who coached Chu during her time at Harvard, described her as a “great teammate, very coachable athlete, tremendous athlete actually.”
Chu co-captained Harvard’s women’s ice hockey team as a junior, where she distinguished herself as Harvard’s all-time assists leader and set the NCAA record for career points.
She has also won the All-American title three times and the USA Hockey Foundation’s Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
After her junior year, Chu took a year off to compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, where she won a bronze medal. In 2007, she graduated with honors in psychology.
Chu started to play hockey as an eight-year-old in Connecticut, after spending time as a figure skater and soccer player. She captained her high school hockey team at Choate Rosemary Hall until she was asked to join the national team as a senior.
She has said she would like to start a teaching career after hockey. Until then, it is up to Chu and her team to bring home a gold medal.
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