GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Marissa Brandt isn’t quite sure what her new position will require, and she’s only had a couple of days to start getting used to the idea of being an honorary ambassador.
The Korean-American hockey player is more than happy to do whatever she can.
“It’s going to be nice to kind of have this platform, and hopefully I can help between Korea and America,” Brandt said.
Brandt, who played hockey for South Korea’s historic combined women’s team under her birth name, Park Yoonjung, was named as an honorary ambassador for adoptees searching for their birth families Sunday on the final day of the Pyeongchang Games.
Neunghoo Park, the South Korea minister of health and welfare, made the announcement at an intimate luncheon including Brandt, her parents and two other adoptees taking part in the Olympics. Hanna Poeschl, or Young-hye Hwang, is an intern with the Olympic Broadcasting Services, and Isaac Myers, also known as Seung-lee Choi, was an Olympic torchbearer.
Park told Brandt and two other Korean-Americans that the government wants to help all adoptees following their adoptions and also with searches for their birth families.
“I’m really honored for this position,” Brandt said. “My goal coming into the Olympics, it was bigger than hockey. For myself, just to be a role model and inspire others and now adoptees. Hopefully inspire them to find their birth parents and reach out and kind of get to know their culture more.”
Brandt was about 4½ months old when adopted by the Brandts and grew up in Minnesota, where she played hockey along with her sister, Hannah, who plays on the gold medal-winning U.S. hockey team.
Since the Korean War, more than 170,000 Korean children have been adopted by families around the world. More adoptees are visiting South Korea looking for their birth families, but culture and language differences have hindered those searches.
Brandt thought her hockey career was over when asked to help Korea in the Olympics as the host country. She had the primary %href_on(file: