From an American Coffee Shop to the Swiss Olympic Team
Jessica Lutz is a 24-year-old barista from the DC area, with plans to become a nurse. She’s also an Olympic athlete.
She’s what you call a Renaissance woman.
I got the chance to talk to her this week from Switzerland. A dual-citizen [her father is Swiss], Lutz will be competing at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi for the Swiss ice hockey team.
2013 was a busy year for the young athlete. Between wrapping up her pre-requisite classes to prepare for an accelerated nursing program in the Fall, making countless lattes at DC’s newest coffee shop, The Coffee Bar, Lutz trained – hard – with a local men’s team.
It was not unusual for Lutz to train with boys. She knew she wanted to play ice hockey at age five. At the time, there weren’t any girl’s teams in the area. Most of the girl’s teams were in the upper Midwest region. Determined to get on the ice, she started skating lessons at age five, found a hockey school to learn the basics at age seven, and by age nine, there were enough girls to make a team – a single team. She grew up playing against all-boys-teams in an all-boys-league. That, of course, came with many stereotypes. “A lot of us grew up playing with boys, but we enjoyed femininity…and ice hockey.”
For most of her high school years, Lutz traveled back and forth to the Midwest, sometimes packing in five games in one weekend. Eventually making it to a Division-1 team at the University of Connecticut, Lutz graduated in three years to get closer to her Olympic dreams. With her eye on making it to the national team, she moved to Bern, Switzerland in 2010.
Lutz picked up a few more skills in order to survive as a professional athlete since her college degree didn’t exactly transfer in Switzerland. She was a nanny, a candle-maker in a factory, a fitness trainer, and a waitress. All while playing on two teams.