5 Things To Know About Caitlin Cahow

By Keith Hutson

Originally published on Advocate.com February 05 2014 7:00 AM ET

1. Caitlin Cahow was named after another Olympian, figure skater Caitlin, "Kitty" Caruthers, a pairs skater who won the gold in 1984 with her brother Peter. Cahow's mother, Barbara Kindler, was a figure skater-turned-professor of surgery at Yale University when Caitlin was born. Initially, young Caitlin even followed in her mother's footsteps and went to figure skating practices for a year, but hated it. Eventually, a group of other girls playing ice hockey caught her eye as she finished up her practice. She convinced her mother to trade in her figure skates for hockey skates and never looked back.

2. There's no achievement too big for Caitlin Cahow. While playing on the college level for Harvard, Cahow was also playing international hockey. She graduated in 2008 with a degree in anthropology, specializing in social anthropology, and she wrote her senior honors thesis in a hotel room in China during the World Championships, according to ESPN. Now she's at Boston College studying law. In fact, she was studying for her constitutional law class's final exam when she found out she was heading to Sochi to represent the United States in the official delegation.

3. After playing for the Boston Blades for a few years after college, Cahow is retired, but she sits on the board of the Canadian Women's Hockey League. When the league was trying to recruit players for a video for the You Can Play Project, she said it was "like pulling teeth" to get players involved. "[T]he assumption is that is there is 'a guilty by association' philosophy with female athletes," she told Go! Athletes. "You don’t want to be perceived as being a lesbian, and if you are a lesbian, you don’t want to fit into the stereotype. You don’t want to gratify that stereotype with a response. That’s something unique to women’s sports. The NHL had an abundance of allies waiting in line to stand up and support LGBT athletes in their videos. Male athletes don’t have the same stigma attached to their participation in sports."

4. While she's been out to friends and family for some time, Cahow publicly came out in an interview with Go! Athletes late last year. She said she hadn't been out to the media or greater hockey community because "nobody ever asked," even her coaches. "I think if LGBT athletes start to mention, when they're interviewed, something as simple as being grateful for their significant other’s support. Then, it becomes more about the personal interest stories of individual athletes, instead of the blockbuster coming out story."

5. She freaked out when she met her own Olympic hero, Jackie Joyner-Kersey, at the Golden Globes' event with United for Equality in Sports and Entertainment. "She must have thought I was crazy," Cahow recounts. "I was growing up right during the Atlanta Olympics, and we all have our Olympic heroes, and she was mine during that time in my life. So when I got to meet her I was speechless! I think she thought I was odd. I just looked at her with such reverence. She was the fastest woman in the world for a while! There's just something about the profound effect that an Olympian can have on a country, or the world, and especially on the kids who aspire to achieve great things…I felt so ridiculous because the first thing I said to her was 'Oh my gosh, how did you keep your nails so long while you were running?' And I'm sure she's been asked that eight million times, but she just laughed, and she gave me this really charming response, and she was just so down to earth. It's so funny — even though I've been to the Olympics, when I meet other Olympians, I'm always a little awestruck because I admire them so much."