Keli Smith had a standout field hockey career at the University of Maryland as an All-American and member of the ACC 50th Anniversary team. Now, as a forward/midfielder for the United States women's team, Smith helped the squad earn its first Olympic invitation since 1996. As she prepared for the Beijing games, Smith took time to answer a few questions for Active.com.
What are you most looking forward to at training camp?
Sometimes training can get mundane week after week. But, now that we are so close to the Olympics, it is nothing but inspiring. It's exciting to know that the ultimate goal is just around the corner. And the food at the Olympic Training Center is very good, too!
What is a typical training day like?
Our first training begins at 8 a.m. We are awake early to eat and see the trainers before practice if necessary. We train for 2 ? hours in the morning and then back out for a second practice in the afternoon.
What is the most difficult part about your sport?
For me, it's the sacrifices you make with your family and loved ones. Our training schedule is year-round and conflicts with weddings, birthdays and holidays. It's comforting to be around people that understand and respect those sacrifices.
What has been the best part of this whole Olympic experience so far?
Knowing how hard we have worked to qualify, seeing how far we can go, and reaching for the medal stands.
What would you say to kids who are inspired by what you're doing and who want to get started in the sport? How should they start?
First, know that every Olympian starts out on the same junior high, high school or club field that you are playing on. It's important to enjoy playing, work hard every chance you get and have fun learning and trying new things.