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Hilary Knight entered the 2022 Beijing Games already etching her name in the history books. Beijing marked her fourth Olympics Games, tying her for the most Olympic selections among U.S. women. And she ended it with another one: On February 16, Knight played her 22nd Olympic game, which broke the record for the most ever on the Olympic stage for Team USA women.
Knight’s record-breaking game occurred during the gold-medal women’s hockey match between Team USA and Team Canada, a rematch of the 2018 Games in PyeongChang in which Team USA clinched gold. The pairing has actually been quite the common sight at the Winter Games. According to the New York Times, the game was the sixth gold-medal match between the U.S. and Canada on the women’s side since the sport became an Olympic event in 1988.
But back-to-back victory wasn’t in the cards for Team USA women’s hockey, as Canada emerged on top with a score of 3-2. That meant Team USA walked away with the silver medal—Knight’s third Olympic silver.
Knight called the outcome “bittersweet” to Team USA, since she believed they didn’t play up to their potential. But for the younger generation looking on, she hopes that they still can take away some important lessons from how the game went down. After all, Canada took a wide lead at the start, pushing the score to 3-0 at one point. But Team USA kept fighting. Knight scored a goal late in the second—her 27th Olympic goal, which put her in second place for all-time scoring—and Amanda Kessel added one of her own with just 13 seconds left in the game.
“I hope [the younger viewers] saw something in our team that sparked motivation for them to never give up and do their very best,” she told NBC. “It’s obviously the fabric of our team. We never quit tonight and it’s something we’re really proud of.”
Plus, for the younger members of the team, she hopes that the finish can help push them to continue to keep striving for big goals.
“Hopefully you take this, and you stay hungry,” she said to Team USA. “For some of the younger kids in that room, come back with a vengeance and a chip on their shoulder to do better and to do more.”
As a four-time Olympian, Knight was one of the veterans on Team USA, and that mentor role she has played to the younger players has been one that she’s relished. In fact, U.S. coach Joel Johnson believes her soft-spoken leadership off the ice has played dividends to those just getting started.
“[She’s] the one that people look to when they’re not sure where to look. The one who people trust in when they’re not sure who to trust,” Johnson told USA Today. “I think the impact she has on her teammates is so meaningful. That’s what impresses me most about Hilary Knight.”
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