PHOTO: Brandt Family
Now playing
02:47
Two sisters, two countries, one sport
TOPSHOT - Hawaii's Billy Kemper falls off his board during the Da Hui Backdoor shootout at the Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore on January 13, 2019. (Photo by brian bielmann / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE        (Photo credit should read BRIAN BIELMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: BRIAN BIELMANN/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Hawaii's Billy Kemper falls off his board during the Da Hui Backdoor shootout at the Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore on January 13, 2019. (Photo by brian bielmann / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read BRIAN BIELMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
04:03
He glimpsed death after a wave slammed him into a rock
Fans Celebrate In Los Angeles After Lakers Win NBA Finals
PHOTO: (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Fans Celebrate In Los Angeles After Lakers Win NBA Finals
Now playing
01:14
Kyrie Irving says Kobe Bryant should be the NBA logo
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
06:20
Jeremy Lin on the rise of anti-Asian violence: 'This has been...boiling up a little bit for me'
aly raisman calls for independent investigation usa gymnastics abuse scandal larry nassar spt intl_00021813.png
aly raisman calls for independent investigation usa gymnastics abuse scandal larry nassar spt intl_00021813.png
Now playing
06:36
Aly Raisman: Olympic champion calls for independent investigation into USA Gymnastics
ZAGREB, CROATIA - JANUARY 4 : Mikaela Shiffrin of USA takes 2nd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on January 4, 2020 in Zagreb Croatia. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
ZAGREB, CROATIA - JANUARY 4 : Mikaela Shiffrin of USA takes 2nd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on January 4, 2020 in Zagreb Croatia. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:44
Mikaela Shiffrin: Don't want to have to choose between 'morality vs being able to do your job'
21-year-old Jasmine Harrison of @rudderlymad has completed the @TaliskerWhisky Atlantic Challenge in 70 days, 3 hours, 48 minutes, breaking the WORLD RECORD for the youngest female to row solo across any ocean!
PHOTO: From Atlantic Campaigns
21-year-old Jasmine Harrison of @rudderlymad has completed the @TaliskerWhisky Atlantic Challenge in 70 days, 3 hours, 48 minutes, breaking the WORLD RECORD for the youngest female to row solo across any ocean!
Now playing
03:09
Jasmine Harrison's solo Atlantic rowing trip
Manchester United's French striker Anthony Martial warms up for the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage in London on January 20, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Manchester United's French striker Anthony Martial warms up for the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage in London on January 20, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:10
Racist social media abuse continues to plague UK football
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured on a screen escaping his crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Peter Fox/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured on a screen escaping his crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:43
Life after seeing death: Romain Grosjean's journey back to racing
Tiger Woods career lookback Riddel pkg hnk vpx _00021906.png
Tiger Woods career lookback Riddel pkg hnk vpx _00021906.png
Now playing
02:35
A lookback at Tiger Woods' triumph, tragedy and trauma
PHOTO: CNN / Getty Images
Now playing
02:53
Erling Haaland: The making of Europe's next football superstar
TOPSHOT - USA's gold medallist Chloe Kim poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the snowboard women's Halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV        (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - USA's gold medallist Chloe Kim poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the snowboard women's Halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
04:36
Chloe Kim looks for 2022 Olympics glory
PHOTO: WFTS
Now playing
00:45
Tom Brady throws Super Bowl trophy from one boat to another
Paris Saint-Germain's French striker Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England on February 12, 2019. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain's French striker Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England on February 12, 2019. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:34
Arsene Wenger: Kylian Mbappe is the new Pele
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
01:10
Wrexham: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney take over Welsh football team
Janja Garnbret climbs on the Trbovlje Chimney in Trbovlje, Slovenia on October 13, 2020 // Jakob Schweighofer/Red Bull Content Pool // SI202011090255 // Usage for editorial use only //
PHOTO: www.redbullmediahouse.com
Janja Garnbret climbs on the Trbovlje Chimney in Trbovlje, Slovenia on October 13, 2020 // Jakob Schweighofer/Red Bull Content Pool // SI202011090255 // Usage for editorial use only //
Now playing
02:59
Climbing Europe's tallest chimney

Story highlights

Hannah and Marissa Brandt will appear in Pyeonchang Winter Olympics

Sisters will represent different countries

Marissa born in Korea but adopted when just four-months-old

(CNN) —  

Marissa Brandt gave up figure skating as a child so she could play ice hockey with her sister, Hannah.

Now the pair will grace one of the biggest sporting stages when they take to the ice at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

But this Minnesota sister act won’t be going for gold together or even competing under the same flag.

Hannah has been selected for the US national team while Marissa, who was born in South Korea but adopted when she was just four-months-old, will play for a unified Korea team.

“It’s crazy,” Marissa, 25, replies when asked her thoughts on the situation. “It’s really nothing we could have ever dreamed.”

Hannah, 24, is equally amazed: “You can’t really script something like this,” she says.

“I’m really looking forward to going to the opening ceremonies … but for my sister, to see her walk in in front of the South Korean fans, I think it’s going to be just an incredible experience for her,” Hannah adds.

The joy of twins

Some remarkable family tales have graced the Olympics in recent years.

Estonian triplets Lily, Leila and Liina Luik competed in the marathon at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

In the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, meanwhile, American born figure skaters Cathy and Chris Reed represented Japan while their sister Allison competed under the Georgian flag.

Yet few family stories can compare to that of the Brandt sisters.

READ: North, South Korea to march together under one flag in Pyeongchang

READ: Pyeongchang medal predictions

READ: The skaters who could be North Korea’s medal hope

Marissa was adopted in 1992 by Greg and Robin Brandt, a Minnesota couple who had been experiencing difficulties conceiving their own children.

Just before they received their first picture of Marissa from the adoption agency, however, Robin discovered she was pregnant.

“We couldn’t have been happier because we figured, you know, what a joy it would be like having twins,” Greg jokes to CNN.

The sisters would both start out figure skating in their youth but Hannah was the first to switch to the rough and tumble of hockey.

US Olympic hockey player, Hannah Brandt.
PHOTO: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
US Olympic hockey player, Hannah Brandt.

Both would go on to play hockey at College, Hannah as a star forward for the University of Minnesota and Marissa for the nearby Gustavus Adolphus College.

Although they would go for long periods without seeing each other, they were always in touch to catch up or wish each other well before games.

That remains the case today even though the pair now live thousands of miles apart.

Hannah graduated to play for the Minnesota Whitecaps upon leaving college. Marissa, meanwhile, was on the verge of giving up hockey until she received an unexpected phone call asking her to come for a tryout in South Korea.

Seoul sisters

As luck would have it, one of South Korea’s goalkeeping coaches lives in Minnesota and word eventually got back that Marissa qualified to represent the Asian nation.

Within two weeks of that surprise phone call, she was boarding a plane bound for Seoul.

“Not knowing anyone or the language (it was) a little scary at first but I’m happy I took that leap of faith and I’m happy it all worked out like it did,” Marissa reflects.

Her experiences in the country of her birth have enabled her to connect with her roots in a way she had resisted doing before. As children, Marissa says it was always Hannah who was more interested in learning about Korea.

“Our parents had us in Korean culture camp growing up and I remember my sister loved it because she loved the spicy food, the kimchi, bulgogi, everything like that,” Marissa recalls.

“I really shied away from it. I didn’t really want to embrace being Korean. I just wanted to fit in and look like my sister and not be different in any way.”

READ: US snowboard star returns after horror crash

READ: Nigerian bobsled team make Winter Olympics history

READ: Afghan skiers making harboring Olympic dreams

That reticence has been replaced by a warm embrace of Korean culture in recent years.

Marissa has also worked to promote adoption within the country, which she describes as “the most special experience,” she’s had since moving there.

Daily contact has, of course, been maintained with her family back home. Marissa married her husband, who remains in the US, a little over two years ago. But regular FaceTime appointments have also been kept with her parents and sister.

For Hannah, the distance has “been tough at times” but it has done little to diminish her relationship with her sister.

“She’s pretty much my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without her,” she adds.

Hannah Brandt (center) of the United States shoots during the semifinal match against Germany at the 2017 IIHF Woman's World Championships.
PHOTO: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Hannah Brandt (center) of the United States shoots during the semifinal match against Germany at the 2017 IIHF Woman's World Championships.

Olympic dreams

The Brandt sisters spoke to CNN before the announcement that South Korea and North Korea would field a joint ice hockey team in PyeongChang.

However, Marissa remarked that it was a positive development North Korean athletes, in the shape of figure skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik, would likely be appearing appearing at the Games.

“It just shows unity and kind of shows that with everything going on that people can still, bond through sport,” she says.

“When we played in the last world championships, we played against North Korea and there were thousands of people at our game. People in the stands were holding flags that had just Korea as a whole not divided and it was a very special moment,” she added.

Hannah, meanwhile, has eyes on unseating a Canada team that has won gold in hockey at the last four Winter Olympics.

After narrowly missing out on Olympic selection four years ago, she hopes to make up for lost time in PyeongChang.

“As a team, we have some major goals of winning a gold medal … I think that’s first and foremost,” she says. “But I want to enjoy every second of it because it doesn’t come often and I think it’s just a huge honor.”

Although both Korean nations are ranked far below the US in the world rankings, there remains a possibility the two teams could meet in the latter stages of the tournament.

The unified Korea team would have to surpass the higher ranked Sweden, Switzerland and Japan in the group stages in PyeongChang to make that prospective encounter a reality.

While that remains unlikely, such a meeting would be far from outwith the bounds of the remarkable Brandt family tale.