What would it be like to win a gold medal? Or three gold medals? What if you won one of those gold medals in overtime, in a match that sports commentators called “One of the greatest things I’ve ever seen”? That’s exactly what happened to Gigi Marvin. This is her story.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Gigi Marvin; I’m 31 years old, and I’m from Warroad, MN. I’m a professional hockey player and own a hockey school for boys and girls. I love being outside on the lake with my family and friends and enjoy playing piano and guitar.
You’re from a serious hockey family. How is your family involved in the sport? When did you start skating?
I grew up in a hockey family in a hockey town so the skates were going on no matter what. Everyone in my family is involved within the sport and have made some remarkable contributions to the growth of hockey in Warroad and around the area. I started skating at age 2.
Can you walk us through the process of getting onto the Olympic hockey team?
About 40 players are invited to a week-long tryout that consists of strength and conditioning testing, practices, and games. After evaluation, the coaches name the 23 player roster. It’s always unreal being told, “Congrats, you’re on the team.” It felt great to call all my friends and family to share the great news!
How does one train for the Olympics?
We trained in Tampa, FL, during the months leading up to the 2018 Olympic Games. An average week consisted of four on-ice practices, three off-ice workouts, two games, and one rest day. Before and after the training we’d have many, many meetings! Those consisted of mental skills training, team building, video, and system work. My day job is training. We’re full time.
What’s life like in the Olympic Village in the days leading up to your games?
Life in the Village is a blast because you’re surrounded by athletes from all over the world. The cafeteria is always a favorite place for athletes because we get to listen to so many different languages being spoken and have the opportunity to meet people from the various countries.
In the 2014 Winter Games, I made friends with the women hockey players from Team Japan so it was awesome catching up with them in Korea. We didn’t do too many touristy things because we were there to compete and not to be a tourist. We absolutely enjoyed ourselves and embraced the culture; however, we kept the main thing the main thing.
The final game between US and Canada was such a nail-biter for us viewers! What was it like for you? (For those of you who don’t know, the US women’s hockey team and the Canadian women’s hockey team are the top two women’s hockey teams in the world. Canada has won the gold medla for the last two decades. This match ended in a shootout with the US winning 3-2 after 20 minutes of overtime!)
The feeling when we won the gold medal was indescribable. I still can’t effectively put into words what crosses our minds and hearts.
It’s such a joy and remarkable honor to experience with our teammates and family/friends. Yes, the game was insane and by far the greatest one I’ve ever been apart of. Joc’s shootout goal was hands down the most beautiful goal ever scored in such a high pressure situation and Maddie Rooney was outstanding in net.
Returning to ‘real life’ after winning a gold medal and going to the Olympics must be surreal. How did you navigate that?
It’s been a blast sharing the gold medal with everyone I meet. I’ve been across the country and it blows my mind how many people watched our gold medal game.
I’m not surprised that people in Minnesota and the east coast states watched because they’re hockey hotbeds, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that people in Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee were just as emotionally invested in that game and cheering us on. One lady literally started crying just hearing that I was on the team.
Where do you keep your medals? And what does life look like for you these days?
I’ll travel with my gold medal but when I’m at home, my three Olympic medals typically just hang out on our dining room table. Life has been both busy but also relaxing. It’s a good mix of travelling for speaking engagements/team events and then hanging out at home playing with my amazing niece, nephew, and little cousins.
What books, websites, tools, or apps helped you accomplish this?
My strength comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, so the Bible was the main tool that helped me in this journey to winning the gold medal. I also had an amazing group of friends who’d pray with me and support me along the way.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Gigi! Do you guys have any questions for her?