As part of our weekly Wednesday Chasing the Dream posts, we’ll be featuring a USWNT athlete up until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Perhaps her jersey number is omniscient of great things to come because Team USA’s #16 has had her eyes firmly focused on 2016 for quite some time. For the London 2012 Olympian Katie Bam, formerly Katie O’Donnell, 2015 held highlights such as Pan American Games gold and qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games as well as her recent marriage to former South African Hockey Team athlete and Beijing 2008 Olympian Marvin Bam. Although in martial bliss from her recent winter wedding, Katie is looking to add five more rings to her collection.
Both having extensive experience at the national team level and even the Olympics, Katie and Marvin are a hockey power couple, being each other’s support system on the pitch. They review film, talk strategy and keep each other honest.
“Because [Marvin] has been through all of the physical and mental demands the Olympics entails too, he understands that a national team athlete continually trains very hard,” said Katie. “But there’s always something about competing in an Olympic year where you are forced to kick it up even more. He offers advice and also helps out with things like cutting back on his sweet intake to help keep those sorts of temptations for me to a minimum.”
Her husband is added to an extensive group of individuals that push Katie to be the best striker possible, including the entire U.S. Women's National Team.
Katie is one of the most decorated field hockey athletes in the nation. Starting her national career at the age of 16, the Blue Bell, Pa. native was the youngest player ever to be named to Team USA. Although the 2011 University of Maryland alum missed out on the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Katie used that to direct her focus on securing her name on the London 2012 Olympic roster. She won the Sportswomen of the Year award by the Women's Sports Foundation in 2010 - an award previously given to Mia Hamm, Serena and Venus Williams. Beyond her accolades and achievements, Katie enjoys the simpler pieces to playing hockey.
“This is going to sound really weird, but I love the locker room stuff,” said Katie. “The talks, the camaraderie that doesn’t have much to do with the on-field action. It’s everything that a teammate can give you a smile, a complement and your entire day and mindset have changed.”
When Katie is not on the pitch driving and diving balls into the cage, she's found wandering winding trails with a camera in hand to snap images of her two favorite subjects, the outdoors and her dog. Katie and Marvin, who also excels in photography, were even asked to shoot USWNT goalkeeper Jackie Brigg's wedding. It may seem like an immense amount of pressure to capture's someone else's big day, but Katie shines in this kind of intense environment. It's a characteristic that will serve her well in the 198 remaining days leading up to the Olympic Games.
Check usafieldhockey.com next Wednesday for another USWNT Chasing the Dream post.