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Local Woman Represents U.S. in Sochi

Laura Johnson is just one of three women's hockey officials selected to represent Team USA in Sochi.
Imagine being out with your friends when you got what might be the best news of your life, and not being able to say a thing. That's what happened to Laura Johnson when she found out she was going to the Olympics.

"I had to wait until it was officially announced but I was bursting with joy," Johnson said. "I excused myself for a moment and made a couple calls. I was just so excited."

Growing up in Texas, ice rinks were few and far between, and the Olympics were just a dream.

"When women's hockey got into the Olympics in 1998, I remember watching them on TV and thinking I want to be there someday, I want to be there just to watch," Johnson said.

Laura is doing more than watching at the Olympics in Sochi, she is participating. There are a total of 16 female officials from around the world refereeing the women's hockey event in Sochi and Laura is just one of three from the United States. But countries don't matter to her in Sochi.

"I'm there to do a game so I really don't care who wins or loses," Johnson said. "I'm there to officiate some awesome hockey."

Laura knows that she will be out on the ice with the best hockey players in the world, but that doesn't worry her a bit.

"It's usually like the first 30 seconds of the game where I think to myself I'm out here with the best of the best, but then it clicks in that I'm working games." "But I do have to realize that I'm one of the best and I'm there for a reason."

This will be the pinnacle of her refereeing career and Laura wants to leave her mark in Sochi.

"I want to feel that I tried my hardest, that I did my best out there and I left it all on the ice," Johnson said.

And once she gets back home to Rochester she wants to leave her mark on the next generation of local referees too.

"I'm going to work college hockey and local hockey games and I'd like to give back to our local hockey community and help bring up the next crop of good officials."
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