Olympic field hockey player Claire Laubach announces retirement
2012 Olympian, Laubach, retires after eight years on U.S. National Team
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – May 15, 2013 – 2012 Olympian Claire Laubach (Centreville, Va.), who shares a story of perseverance and hard work that is nothing short of inspiring, is closing the chapter of an incredible field hockey career that includes three NCAA Division I National Championship titles and a Pan American gold medal. After eight years and 167 international competitions with the U.S. Women’s National Team, Laubach made the bittersweet decision to, in her own words, “pass the torch.”
As Laubach reflected on her career and time spent on the U.S. National Team, one of the most notable memories was the Pan American gold medal victory over the No. 1 world ranked team Argentina back in October 2011. The historic victory was not only a first for the U.S., but secured Laubach and Team USA a spot in the London Olympic Games.
“0:44. 0:43. 0:42. 0:00. My peripheral on the clock as it counted down our victory against Argentina to win gold at the Pan American Games is the single best memory of hard-earned team tears of my life,” said Laubach. “As crazy as it may seem, the little things with my teammates are just as memorable. Like Dina Rizzo telling a cab driver in Spain that he was “going-o the wrong-o way-o” or dancing at Amy Tran’s wedding. I wouldn’t trade that stuff for anything. Winning the Pan Ams and hearing the National Anthem at London 2012, yes, absolutely major milestones but the moments in between making my dreams come true ended up being the best part.”
Those moments and that victory didn’t come without heartache and tremendous commitment to never give up on her dreams. The Centreville High School and Wake Forest University grad’s career came to a screeching halt after being cut from the 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympic Field Hockey Team roster. And on September 2, 2008, Laubach received more gut-wrenching news that she had been cut from the National Team and demoted to the Development Squad. But instead of calling it quits, Laubach earned a skilled that eventually made her an international threat, a leading goal scorer on U.S. penalty corners and landed her a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team roster.
“Claire’s story and ability to overcome obstacles and bumps in the road is inspiring for any athlete dealing with adversity,” said Steve Locke, Executive Director for USA Field Hockey. “As a go-to player on penalty corners for the last several years, her drag flicking skills and patience in the backfield will be unquestionably be missed. I congratulate Claire for defying the odds and never giving up on her Olympic dream and thank her for her commitment, sacrifices and the example she has set for all future USA Field Hockey players.”
Laubach graduated from Wake Forest University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art. During her tenure anchoring the Deacon defense, Laubach broke records, racked up accolades and earned three consecutive NCAA Division I National Championship titles.
Now, without a heavy training and competition schedule in the books, Laubach has already changed uniforms and shifted focus to another passion - cooking.
“I enrolled in the Art Institute of Philadelphia Culinary School and will graduate in two years,” said Laubach. “The uniform is different but I need a lot less sunscreen.”
Laubach’s five to 10 year plan?
“Hang out with Tom Colicchio and Padima Lakshmi on Top Chef. Never stop dreaming, right? I’m going to keep a hand in hockey, coaching camps and playing where I can.”
And her forever plan?
“Stay grateful for my time on this team,” said Laubach. “Thank you, really. Go States.”