The 34-year-old is the alltime leading scorer in the history of the U.S. women's hockey team
SI: Your 20-year-old teammate Lyndsay Wall gave you the nickname Stepmom after finding out you were the same age as her stepmother. What other names have these youngsters abused you with?
Granato: Well, Granny for one because of Granato. But I stopped that right away.
SI: How close have you been to retiring?
Granato: My back was a major issue after the 2002 Olympics. I was uncomfortable doing something as simple as drying my hair. I contemplated retiring, but I met an amazing trainer in Vancouver who worked with me through acupuncture. It's like I'm a new person and a new player.
SI: Do you consider the U.S. the favorite to win the gold medal at the 2006 Turin Games?
Granato: Looking at how skilled our team is and our chemistry, anything less than a gold will be absolutely crushing. Our neighbors to the north feel exactly the same about themselves, and that's what makes the Olympics exciting.
SI: Would you still be playing had the U.S. beaten Canada for the gold in Salt Lake City in '02?
Granato: I'm not certain I would have retired had we won gold. But the drive and hunger that lies in you as an athlete after a loss like that really drives you.
SI: Have you ever felt pressure as a female athlete to use sexuality to market yourself?
Granato: I don't think women that have done that have been forced to do it. If it was tastefully done and would help our sport, I would definitely do it. We're masked in shoulder pads, and you never see the feminine side of our game. People would be surprised at how feminine our team is.
SI: Ever been compelled to throw down the gloves in a game?
Granato: Compelled, yes. Would I do it? No. I know my own strength, and I probably would get my butt kicked. --Richard Deitsch
MARINA DODIS (GRANATO)
DOUG BENC/GETTY IMAGES (GRANATO PLAYING)