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Having been lucky enough to cover the Olympics on six previous occasions, with the seventh coming now at the 2010 Winter Games, I've heard one question repeatedly: What's your favorite Olympic moment?

The easy answer would be any opening ceremony, because all have created the euphoria that only comes from having the world's athletes together.

But I'd rather describe actual events, and two stand out. Nothing can top the emotions that come when a sport debuts at the Olympics. I saw that in women's softball at the 1996 Atlanta Games, with people crying openly in the stands at the first game, then again when Team USA won the gold medal.

Then, in 1998 at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, I covered the launch of women's hockey. And when another Team USA captured the gold, I remember standing near the ice, seeing the U.S. women revel in their conquest, and it gave even a crusty journalist some wet eyes.

Preparing for this cover story on the U.S. women's hockey program, I had the pleasure of reminiscing with two members of that 1998 team, Angela Ruggiero and Jenny (Schmidgall) Potter. They're hoping to lead Team USA to gold one more time before retiring.

And if they do, that might have to become No. 1 on my list.

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