Saskatoon's Emily Clark lives out 'childhood dream' on Olympic world stage
Canada's women's hockey team comes home with silver after heartbreaking loss to Americans in finals
While her first Olympics may have ended in heartache, Saskatoon's Emily Clark knows that in the days and years to come, coming home with a silver medal will be something she will cherish.
"This is my childhood dream; so I'll take as many positives as I can, all the good memories," she told CBC Afternoon Edition host Garth Materie, hours after Canada's women team suffered a nail-biter of a loss to the Americans in the finals.
Before that loss, Clark was riding high, having scored her first Olympic goal in the semi-finals to help Canada blank the Olympic athletes from Russia, 5-0. That goal came after a run in which she said she had trouble producing, which made the moment one of "pure joy".
"To get that monkey off my back, and watch that puck go in the net and realize I just scored my first goal at the Olympics, that was a moment I'll never forget," she said.
Clark was among the women battling to keep a 20-year streak alive, to win their fifth consecutive gold medal during Thursday night's final.
The Americans would tie the game in the third, and after a scoreless overtime, would win in the shootout.
It was a heartbreaking way to lose, especially for a group that had come to that point as a team in everything they had done, Clark said.
"As a player, you want to end it as a team with five players on the ice, four players, not just down to one player, one goalie."
But team captain Marie-Philip Poulin embraced every player and reminded Clark to hold her head up high, saying she was proud of her.
I'll definitely remember that feeling on the blue line, and that will fuel my fire for the next four years.- Emily Clark
Beyond the team as well, Clark said she could see and feel support from fellow Canadians, whether it was Olympic medallist Scott Moir shouting from the stands, friends and family sending texts, or even complete strangers tweeting out cheers.
"It means a lot coming from people you know, but from people you don't know, I think it means even more," she said of the support.
Now Clark will be heading back to her hockey team with the University of Wisconsin, chasing the national championships and, after this first showing at the Olympics, a thirst to return to reclaim that gold medal.
"I'll definitely remember that feeling on the blue line, and that will fuel my fire for the next four years."
With files from CBC Afternoon Edition