By now, everyone’s heard of the Canadian women’s hockey team and their shenanigans after they won the gold medal on Thursday. I wasn’t a big fan of the celebration, but what’s done is done.
After starting the party in the locker room, they brought the party on to the ice so they could take a few pictures. They had cigars, beer and champagne to celebrate where they thought they were alone.
They were not. A member of the Associated Press was there and informed the IOC’s executive director. Hockey Canada issued an apology. And of course, the “story” was blown out of propotion and turned into some sort of lameass so-called sexist display from the IOC. Yeah, okay.
“We had our victory, we deserved to win and celebrate it, and I think we handled ourselves fine,” Wickenheiser said.
Quite frankly, I don’t think Haley Wickenheiser (captain of the team) is completely right in saying that they handled themselves fine. They partied in the locker room and came out to the ice when they were already clearly a little drunk. One of the players tried to drive a zamboni while she was drunk. They didn’t think of the drinking age being 19, not 18, in British Columbia. An underage Marie-Philip Poulin was shown drinking on the ice with her teammates. While underage drinking is pretty much commonplace, players are under a huge microscope at the Games. But the biggest thing that went overlooked was the fact that there were still members of the media in the arena.
I find it odd that a team official or representative didn’t check to make sure all of the media was gone. Is is fair that they would have to do that? No. But at the Olympics, everyone is on a tight leash. The IOC doesn’t want anything even narrowly looking like it’s “disgracing” the Games or the committee. American snowboard halfpipe bronze medalist Scotty Lago was sent home after TMZ got a hold of pictures with a female fan kissing his medal while he was holding it below the belt. If a guy gets sent home for that, you bet your ass the women’s hockey team was going to catch flack for their post-game celebration.
I am not an expert on media or journalism. The only thing I have ever done is a year of high school journalism class. I may be wrong, but I’m quite positive that sensation and scandal sells. Some media outlets thrive off of those kinds of stories. Whether it is admitted or not, we all know that a scandal can make for some good reading and we would rather pick up . No one, especially the media, wants to have the same bland “They won the gold in their home country” angle. If an opportunity presents itself, they are going to take the story and run with it. Even the smallest incidents will be blown out of proportion. That’s what had happened with the women of Team Canada: an unfortunate lapse in judgement that led to the media getting a “story.”
I have never liked anything about ESPN covering hockey. Watching them attempt to explain anything on television is just brutal, so I never really venture over. And that brings me to my biggest gripe about the celebration. It’s not with the team; it’s with the media covering it.
The dumbest thing I have read was Bonnie D. Ford’s column complaining of double standards and “flat-out sexism.”
She starts by going on a tangent about the partying she’s seen in Vancouver; guys peeing in public, people throwing up from too much alcohol, and the possibility of people getting date-raped from too much to drink. That has nothing to do with the women’s hockey team celebration. Nothing at all.
Her fourth paragraph (when she actually starts talking about the team) reads, “Which makes the double standard and hypocrisy coloring Thursday’s brew-ha-ha around the Canadian women’s hockey team even more blatant.” A sentence that comes right after story telling about fans getting hammered and going crazy. You know, those people NOT representing their country on the biggest stage in sports. How can one compare the two groups? You cannot compare a group of women playing for their national team to drunken teenagers and college students. The IOC does not care about what those people are doing; they represent nothing but themselves. Just because fans are draped in Canadian jerseys and Olympic apparel, you can all of a sudden hold them to the same standard as Olympians? It is absurd to even fathom the suggestion.
Eventually, she gets to shit about the “sexism” revealed in this incident.
“I’ll go out on a limb and say no one would be talking about decorum if the Canadian men had enjoyed a cold beverage and a stogie at center ice in similar circumstances. The photo would run above the fold in every newspaper in this country and be reissued as a souvenir poster.”
Well, Bonnie, I am going to have to disagree with this limb you went out on. Had these Games been a Stanley Cup final, I would absolutely agree that the photos would be under the headline announcing the victors. However, these are the Olympics. We are dealing with the IOC here; a committee that struggles for perfection and will reprimand anyone “trying” to tarnish their Games. If any Olympians are at an Olympic venue, not at a bar or in the streets, and are sucking down beers and champagne while smoking cigars, the IOC will have a problem, regardless of sex. Did Bonnie even hear about Scotty Lago? He’s a boy. He got punished for photos taken. While his ordeal mainly involved the USOC, it just goes to show that everything the athletes do while at the Games is under scrutiny.
“Yet while the massive, excessive outdoor carousing passes for Olympic atmosphere, female hockey players intoxicated on nothing stronger than adrenaline and joy are being told they should have restrained themselves. Every once in a while, it becomes clear that baby, we haven’t come very far after all.”
Again. She’s comparing the “Olympic atmosphere” to Olympic hockey players. You should know that Ford covers tennis. I suppose that is where most of her intimidation of the Vancouver crowd stems from. The atmosphere at a tennis match is clearly different from that of a hockey game. The fans are sitting in silence for more than half of the match, while hockey fans are screaming at the top of their lungs for 60 minutes. Sweetheart, it’s clear that if people like you keep making it “us against men,” we’ll go nowhere in society.