(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) — A pair of sisters are competing this year at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea — but one is suiting up for Team USA, the other for Team Korea.
“It’s surreal, this whole thing, we never could have dreamed of,” Marissa Brandt told ABC News’ Amy Robach of competing in the Olympics with her sister, Hannah.
“To be here in my birth country, to have my family come, being here with my sister and sharing this journey with her,” she added. “It’s incredible.”
In 1993, South Korea-born Marissa Brandt was adopted by Minnesota couple Greg and Robin Brandt when she was just four months old. Just before she was set to arrive in the U.S., the couple also found out that they were pregnant with Hannah.
Six months after Marissa Brandt arrived in the U.S., her sister was born.
“We kind of did everything together,” Hannah Brandt told ABC News. “We trained together, all year round.”
Hannah Brandt added that their parents are “ecstatic” to be able to watch both daughters compete in the Olympics and to be able to visit the place where Marissa was born.
“It’s a really special place to be, for all of my family, obviously, and to be able to kind of do this whole experience with them here, I couldn’t ask for any more,” Hannah Brandt said.
“I always talked about doing a sister trip with my sister and coming here,” she added. “Now it’s kind of finally happening, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
Marissa Brandt called it “an honor to be able to represent my birth country.”
“I never thought that this would happen, and I never thought I’d be back here under these circumstances,” she added. “I just hope to make Korea proud.”
In addition, Marissa Brandt said “it means a lot” to her for her parents to be able to visit her birth country.
Marissa Brandt’s team this year also includes 12 players from North Korea, whom she described as “awesome.”
“They’re eager to learn, they’re disciplined, have a great attitude,” she added of her North Korean teammates. “We couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls.”
She added that they have been heavily supervised, “but it’s not like it throws off their game or anything like that.”
Despite competing for different nations, Marissa Brandt said she and her sister “try and see each other every day.”
If Team USA and Team Korea end up facing off, however, both sisters immediately said they would not take it easy on each other on the ice.
“Not one bit,” Hannah Brandt said.
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