While many around the country have watched the 2012 London Olympics on the edge of their seats, one ESPN employee and former Duke University “Field Hockey Athlete Of The Decade” watches the U.S. Olympic Field Hockey team with a personal connection.
Laura Suchoski, associate manager of Social Media for espnW, knows about the hard work and dedication the sport entails.
Beginning her journey at age 13, Suchoski participated as a member of the U-16, U-18 and U-21 National Training teams for six years. During this period, Suchoski was teammates with 80 percent of the women on the current U.S. Olympic team and was coached by Lee Bodimeade, the head coach of the group that is competing this week in London.
“He cares about growing the all-around player, from her physical skills to her mental game and attitude,” Suchoski said. “I admire how dedicated he is to developing and growing the game of field hockey here in the United States.”
At Duke from 2005-09, Suchoski was a four-time All American and two-time team captain. But she was forced with a tough decision her senior year: move cross-country to California and continue training several times a day to pursue a life in field hockey, or dedicate herself to her studies.
Suchoski said that while she misses the sport, the competitive spirit definitely exists in the espnW team.
“What’s exciting is that we cross paths through my work,” Suchoski said.
The mission of espnW is to connect female fans with the sports they love and follow, part of that is done by spotlighting women’s sports, “whether they are high profile…or up-and-coming,” Suchoski said.
Given her extensive background, Suchoski has been following along closely during this Olympics.
She follows many of her former teammates on Instagram and Twitter for behind the scenes photos and has exchanged “bring it home!” tweets with her friend and former teammate Michelle Kasold before the U.S. recorded its lone win in a 1-0 thriller over Argentina. (The team takes on Belgium for 11th place on Friday.)
The most rewarding part, however, is that her current role at ESPN allows her to interact with people from her past and keep her passion for field hockey alive.
“I get to work in a competitive workplace with a fantastic brand, which highlights my former teammates and puts them in the spotlight.” Suchoski said. “I [truly] know how much they deserve it.”