Berks County veterinarian recalls journey to winning Olympic bronze medal in 1984

Dr. Staver finished veterinary school in 1982 and worked part-time while she trained for the 1984 Olympics.
READING, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- These days Dr. Julie Staver can be found working at the Willow Creek Veterinary Center in Reading, Berks County where she's been a veterinarian for over 35 years.

Staver says being able to help both the owner and the pet is the best part of her job.

But back in the 1970s, she was often on the field, playing both varsity field hockey and lacrosse at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I loved it," said Staver. "I was a double All-American when I was at Penn."

She says being a female athlete in that era came with challenges.

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"You didn't have any trainer or anybody to help with injuries," she said.

However, when Title IX was enacted in 1972, she says that all changed.

"Anne Sage showed up as coach. We had uniforms," explained Staver. "That made a huge difference."

With her talent on the field, Staver quickly rose to the national level. She played on the U.S. women's lacrosse team and field hockey team while she was still a student at Penn. After graduating in 1974, she coached at Penn for two years, but continued playing field hockey with the U.S. team.

"The rumor was out that women's field hockey might be in the Olympics in '80," she said.

The U.S. boycott that year put her Olympic hopes on hold and instead of going to Moscow, the team headed to D.C. where they received Congressional Gold Medals.

Staver finished veterinary school in 1982 and worked part-time while she trained for the 1984 Olympics that took place in Los Angeles, California.

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The U.S. Women's Olympic Field Hockey Team earned a bronze medal after beating Australia 10-5. It came down to a penalty shoot-out for the win.

"We were ecstatic," said Staver.

She hung up her cleats after those games, but says she's proud of her time on the field.

"We just had a great team who rose to the occasion," recalled Staver. "Stayed focused and didn't give up."

And to date, the bronze medal won by the 1984 Women's Olympic Field Hockey Team is the only medal the U.S. has ever received for women's field hockey at the Olympics.

For more information:
Willow Creek Veterinary Staff: Dr. Julie Staver
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