As an athlete, Brianna Decker doesn't beat around the bush. Taking silver is not what women's hockey set out to do at the 2022 Winter Games.
"It's hard to be proud right now," says Brianna Decker, three-time Olympian and Dousman native. "We set out to get gold and I think that's what we have our minds set on every day we are training, that's what we are training for."
The Dousman native also didn't go with the expectation of only competing for minutes. But after an ugly collision on day one of the competition, Decker's time on the ice was over.
"At that moment, I think it set in right away. I knew I was going to be out. I could tell that I hurt myself," says Decker. "I broke my ankle basically, and tore ligaments in the ankle."
No longer able to play, Decker had two choices, return to the states or return to the bench.
"I was glad that I was able to catch the last period of that game to watch the team finish it out. Two of my linemates scored shortly after I was injured and it just shows the type of team that we had," says Decker.
Choosing to stay in Beijing, Decker admits she had her youngest fans on her mind.
"When I was younger, you watched how the girls handled injuries and how they handled themselves or how they handle their role change on the team if they aren't playing as much. This was a situation for me, that younger girls are watching me and how I handle the situation," says Decker.
Decker was also thinking of the girls she grew up with, some of which still with her in Beijing.
"I just wanted to help the team in any way. A lot of us have known each other for so long. Obviously, there are a couple of new girls and new rookies on the team, but some of those girls I've been playing with since I was eight years old, especially the ones that grew up around Wisconsin. Win or lose, I wanted to be there for the team. They've been there for me the entire four years or more, and I've been there for them so I wouldn't want it any other way," says Decker.
Returning stateside with her team, Brianna underwent surgery and should be back on the ice in 10 weeks.
"I'm in good hands and the recovery should be spot on and the surgery went well. So hopefully I'll be back playing or training," says Decker.
Until then, she's enjoying time with her family in a town that's helping her remember winning is more than a medal.
"I come home to Dousman and everyone is supportive and it doesn't matter what medal I come home with or if I come home with one at all. They are still so proud that I'm from this small town and those are the moments that you're still thankful to have gone to the Olympics and been a part of that experience," says Decker.