Colgate’s Noemi Neubauerova Recounts Her Winter Olympics Experience

The pride of Colgate Athletics, Noemi Neubauerova, has returned to her home in Hamilton, N.Y. after an incredible experience participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Neubauerova, known around campus as “Nemo,” is a senior forward on the Colgate Women’s Ice Hockey team.
Neubauerova went to high school at the Gunnery School in Connecticut, and was recruited from there to play hockey at Colgate. It was always a dream of hers to leave the Czech Republic and come to the United States to play college hockey, as there was not much opportunity in the Czech Republic to further her career. She said that she was forced to play hockey with boys from “like 14 or 15 [years old],” and that there “was no future” for a women’s hockey player in the Czech Republic. At Colgate, she has played 99 games in her career and has 44 points on 23 goals and 21 assists.

Neubauerova returned to campus the week of Feb. 21, after a four month stint in Beijing. She played qualification games back in November for about 10 days, whereafter she stayed in her home country and practiced with teammates. The team was not together the whole time leading up to the games, but met up a week before the Olympics began and flew to Beijing.

Neubauerova Olympic experience began at the opening ceremony.
“It was unreal. … That’s when it hit me that I was actually at the Olympics.”
However, when asked if the realization that she actually competed on the global stage in the Olympics has completely sunk in yet, Neubauerova responded:

“No … it feels so weird because I still can’t really believe it, to be honest.”

And if her amazement at the prospect of simply competing in the games was not enough, Neubauerova also had the opportunity to see and meet famous athletes from all over the world. She added to her list of favorite moments from the Olympics:

“My fangirl response is watching Shaun White walk by.”

On the ice, Neubauerova’s Czech Republic team was in Group B of the tournament’s group stage with Japan, Sweden, China and Denmark. The teams played a round robin format for the group stage, where each team played the other four teams in their group once. Things started well for the Czech squad in their group play. They began the tournament by defeating China and Sweden by identical 3-1 scores in their first two games.

In the game against China, Neubauerova notched an assist in the second period, proving that she belongs on the world’s brightest stage. About her ability to contribute at the Olympic level, Neubauerova had a humble response.

“It felt good, and even if you don’t get points, just knowing you’re part of the team there and part of the victories or losses … it’s still really cool to be a part of it.”

The team was soaring before losing to Denmark 3-2 in regulation and then falling 3-2 in a penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Japan in their last group game. However, despite a couple of close losses to close out their group play, their two early wins were enough to notch them a spot in the Quarterfinals against a vaunted U.S. team. They lost by a score of 4-1 to the Americans, who ended up in the Finals before falling to Canada in the Gold Medal game. Neubauerova got 22 shifts in the Quarterfinal matchup against the U.S. and was also able to rip off a shot on goal.

Despite her Czech Republic squad ducking out of the Olympics after the loss, they played impressively throughout the tournament. Neubauerova can be proud that she was at the heart of their success. She donned the jersey of her country and showed that she belongs with the best in her sport.