Thank God for 2014 Sochi Olympics hockey star Julie Chu. For those of us above the age 25, the Olympics can be an interesting source of entertainment. Watching legions of folks who aren't even old enough to drink reach the height of their success is a bit jarring — what were we doing at age 19? Drinking margarita mix and thinking we were getting goofy off it? Well, Chu wasn't doing that when she was 19 because she was busy being a champion, but at least she brings some age diversity to the icy Russian tundra, right?
At age 31, Chu is the oldest member of the U.S. Women's Hockey Olympic team, and looking through the stats throughout her career, it would seem that her teammates — the youngest of whom is just 19 — could learn a lot from the three-time Olympic champion.
And a great deal of the credit for those medals goes to Connecticut native Chu, who's primarily a forward on the ice — for non-hockey fans, than means her main responsibility is to assist with and score goals. And seeing as hockey is a generally low-scoring game, Chu's got a great deal of responsibility on her very able shoulders.
2014 Makes Four
This year, Olympic veteran Chu becomes the fourth ever U.S. Olympic hockey player to compete in four Olympic games. And her odds of success in Sochi are pretty high: She's already got two silvers and one bronze under her belt. The sky really is the limit.
Fit as a Fiddle
At age 29, Chu posed for the ESPN Body Issue, and while there is a danger in these nude photo shoots for the women involved to become overly sexualized, Chu's image was 100 percent power.
Brains and Brawn
Chu graduated from Harvard, where she studied psychology and graduated with honors while she worked on her game and became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history. And she did all that even after she put school on hold for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Damn, girl.
Hockey's Not Just For Boys
When Chu was a child, her parents signed her up for ice skating, but it wasn't for her. instead, she wanted to play hockey like her older brother. She took to it quickly and went on to become a high school hockey star. Her high school career served as quite the foundation for her Olympic career, which began straight after her high school career.
She Gives Back
For Chu, it's not enough to simply be amazing at her sport. It's not enough to attend Olympics after Olympics. She wants to bring help and joy to others' lives, too. Since she began her career, she's worked with the US Anti-Doping Agency's stay clean initiative and Habitat for Humanity in addition to coaching young women at various hockey camps. She's a regular feminist role model.
In 2008 at the World Championships, a few of Chu's teammates were injured. In order to help the team, Chu played both forward and defensive positions to keep her team afloat. It's one thing to recognize an athlete as a champion, it's another to find that she's an incredible teammate as well.
A Woman With a Backup Sport
As if she didn't get enough sporting in by playing hockey, Chu also plays golf. That's an over-achiever for ya.
Chu's got a few awards and records under her belt — that tends to happen when you're at the top of your field — including the best all-time NCAA Women's Hockey scoring record, three All American & Patty Kazmaier awards (they're kind of a big deal), and the 2007 USA Hockey Female Athlete of the Year Award. Chu's are shoulders we can place our Olympics hopes on.