From NBC News | Opinion by Jocelyn Jane Cox, writer and former US Figure skating championships competitor
Compared to competitive figure skating, playing ice hockey gave me a certain level of freedom that I wish I found sooner.
I was a competitive figure skater for 11 years, so I've been watching skating events closely in Beijing. I've also been tracking women's ice hockey as Team USA and Canada headed toward the gold medal game. After I quit figure skating, at age 19, I had the opportunity to try hockey. What I discovered surprised me.
Ice hockey training taught me to act, react and be ready for a million different possibilities. Once in a game, each moment morphed into the next in unpredictable ways. I could make mistakes and rectify them on the rebound (as long as the puck didn't go into our net). Even when a prescribed play was in motion, it was a matter of improvisation.
I found ice hockey relatively late, but fortunately, more and more young girls are getting involved in the sport. According to USA Hockey, in the last 10 years, the participation of girls and women has grown by 34 percent. More girls and women participated in the 2018-2019 season than ever: almost 83,000 laced up.