BEIJING, China - Olympic opening ceremonies are Friday night and one United States team will be there after a 12 year absence from the Games.
CBN News met with members of Team USA who are competing in a sport most Americans know little about.
A Dream Realized
For USA field hockey captain Kate Barber, going to the Olympics is a lifelong dream.
"I can remember being 8-years-old watching Mary Lou Retton back in '84 compete. That was the start of my Olympic itch. Once I started playing high school and things like that, it became more of a reality," Barber said.
As part of the U.S. national field hockey team for nearly 12 years, this will be the first time Barber gets to play in the Olympics.
The United States hasn't competed in the Games since 1996, and narrowly missed qualifying for the last two.
"Missing the past two Olympics by a close, finishing sixth instead of the top five - to get that top spot has been pretty heart-wrenching and difficult to swallow. But it's made it all worth it," Barber said.
Teammate Carrie Lingo says missing the 2004 Olympics motivated the team.
"It's actually been something that's driven quite a few of us for the past four years, so it's nice to be watching those Olympic commercials and know that we're sending a team there," Lingo said.
Putting Their Sport on the Map
Field hockey isn't a big deal here in the United States, but it has quite a large following overseas. U.S. team members hope their participation in the Beijing Olympics will give their sport a big boost.
Head coach and former silver medalist Lee Bodimeade says this year's Olympic bid has already raised the profile of U.S. field hockey.
"One of the things about qualifying for the Games is that it's brought a lot more profile to our national group and the sport," Bodimeade said.
He anticipates a strong finish in Beijing, and is even more optimistic about the future outlook of USA field hockey.
"Now we're at a higher level in our domestic competition, and we're hoping that that continues so in 2012, a gold medal is what we're really shooting for," he said.
As Bodimeade and his team train for the August Games, they're ready to take on the world.
"We're going for gold," Lingo said. "We're going for gold and nothing less."