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Vadnais Heights parents cheer on Olympian daughter after community organizes watch party

The community organized a watch party for Greg and Robin Brandt so they could cheer on their daughter Hannah and the rest of the U.S. Women's Hockey Team.

VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. — Very few parents get to see their children in the Olympics.

Greg and Robin Brandt got to see not just one daughter compete in the winter games, but two.

Back in 2018, the couple got to see their biological daughter Hannah Brandt compete with the USA Women’s Hockey Team.

And they also got to see their adopted daughter Marissa Brandt play for team Korea.

“It’s been pretty amazing,” mother Robin Brandt says. "To see both daughters in the same Olympics was a great experience."

Four years later, Hannah is now competing in the games again.

“We are so proud of her,” father Greg Brandt says.

Hannah is competing in the Winter Olympics in Beijing for team USA, but due to COVID restrictions, her parents weren’t allowed to come with.

"It's really hard. Knowing what the Olympic experience is like, and not being able to experience that. It's kind of heartbreaking,” Greg says.

So, the Vadnais Heights community decided to organize a watch party to bring the Olympic experience to them.

Dozens of community members woke up early Sunday morning for the puck drop at 7:10 a.m. central time.

Meanwhile, over in Beijing, the local time was 9:00 p.m.

"I’m surprised people got up so early to come and do this,” Greg laughs.

While the couple is still sad they couldn’t see their daughter in-person this year, they say watching the game with their community is the next best thing.

“It almost feels like a wedding reception with all of our friends and family here,” Robin laughs.

Robin says she never could have imagined having a daughter grow up to play in the Olympics, but she says Hannah had Olympic ambitions very early on in life.

"When she was about maybe six or seven years old, she sat at the end of her bed and she said, ‘mom, how are they going to find me?’ And I'm like, ‘who's going to find you?’ And she was like, ‘how are they going to find me to play in the Olympics?’ And I was just so taken aback. I mean, she was already feeling like that was her dream,” Robin says.

A dream she is now experiencing live on TV for the world to see.

During the 2nd intermission of Sunday's game Hannah got to give her parents and her community a special shout out.

"I miss them a lot, but I can feel the love and support all the way over here in China,” Hannah said during the live broadcast.

The U.S.A. Women’s Hockey Team beat Switzerland 8-0 Sunday morning.

The team will go on to compete against Canada on Tuesday night.

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