If you won an Olympic gold medal, where would you keep it? If you’re BC alumna Emily Pfalzer ’15, the answer is simple: you keep it in a sock.
“It’s always funny to see people’s reaction when I pull the medal out,” she admitted.
Pfalzer, who graduated from BC in 2015, earned her gold at the PyeongChang Winter Games as a member of the U.S. women’s national ice hockey team. She wasn’t the only Eagle on the ice: Cayla Barnes '22, Kali Flanagan '19, Megan Keller '19, and Haley Skarupa '16 all contributed to Team USA’s historic victory—the first in 20 years—over Canada.
In the days and weeks following their return to the U.S., the champions were busier than ever, throwing out first pitches, chatting up Jimmy Fallon, snapping selfies with the cast of This is Us, and walking the red carpet at the ESPY Awards. Below are a few of their favorite gold medal memories:
Speechless on Ellen
After touching down in the U.S., the team’s first appearance was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. As she congratulated the women, Ellen remarked on their uniformly hoarse voices. “Did you all lose your voices from screaming?” she asked one of the captains. “Are you not talking because you sound like her?”
“It was so cool,” Kali Flanagan '19 said of the experience. “Seeing how receptive the entire country was to our win was incredible. We were all saying, ‘Oh my gosh, how cool is it that what we’ve done has made such an impact on not only women’s hockey, but just on people in general?’”
A photo with Abe
As part of their Post Olympic Tour, the team visited Washington, D.C. where they snapped a photo in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The moment was especially poignant for Haley Skarupa ’16, who grew up 20 minutes outside the city.
“I have so many photos of myself with family and friends right here in front of the Lincoln Memorial,” she said. “To think I would be there years later with my teammates standing there as gold medal Olympic champions is just a dream come true.”
Inspiring the next generation
As any Olympian knows, a gold medal isn’t something you keep to yourself. After the Games, Flanagan carried her medal with her “everywhere” in an effort to share the victory with as many people as possible.
“I went to my elementary school and talked to a lot of younger girls who play hockey,” she said. “To be able to show them that dreams do come true is just something that’s incredibly special, unique, and honestly priceless.”
“This may be one of my favorite pictures of all time,” said Skarupa, who sat front row with the rest of her team for the Tie Break Tens tennis tournament at Madison Square Garden. “The Williams sisters were so awesome, funny, and excited for us—if you zoom in, Venus is holding my gold medal!”
Setting the pace
The summer after her Olympic win, Megan Keller '19 returned to her home state to drive the pace car at the FireKeepers Casino 400, a NASCAR race held every year at the Michigan International Speedway. “Unreal experience” she tweeted after the race. “Thanks [NASCAR champion] @KurtBusch for being nice to me back there!”
Although her gold medal dreams were yet to be realized, walking in the Opening Ceremony will forever be Cayla Barnes ’22’s most treasured Olympic memory.
“It’s such a cool moment when the whole world is watching and there is peace through sport,” she said. “To be on the highest stage realizing your dreams—it’s a moment I will never forget.”
—Alix Hackett | University Communications | October 2018