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October 23 09:23 AM
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Party on Olympic ice not typical of athletes


To the Editor:

I read Catherine Minolli's column in the March 3 issue regarding the hockey girls with some amusement...and would like to make a few observations in regard to the celebration by the Canadian women's team after winning the gold in hockey.

The issue on the part of the Olympic committee isn't that the women partied. The issue is that they did it with ice, beer, champagne and cigars, in public view (even though the rink was nearly empty). This is not a behavior exhibited by the men. Not in the Olympic finals, not in the World Championships, and not in the Stanley Cup finals. The champions collect their awards in public (on the ice), then party in the dressing room afterward. Unfortunately, it is the practice of the television networks to demand access immediately to the champions' dressing room immediately after the game, in order to televise those celebrations. What probably wasn't fair is that the women weren't treated equally in this regard (maybe they were in Canada; I didn't have access to Canadian cable to see). I'm sure it might have done even more than the rivalry between the teams to boost television ratings!

Agreed, the IOC has a long way to go in what constitutes sport values, given their track record over the last 40-odd years. Also agreed, the figure skater you refer to was disrespectful to his fellow competitor and the judges. In doing so, he came across as a poor sport in the eyes of the public, as I am sure you will agree. No investigation required there—a reprimand or penalty for that poor sportsmanship is definitely in order. While on the topic of good sports, the US women did not appear gracious in defeat, either. Losing hurts; unfortunately in Olympic team sports, you win for gold and bronze medals, you lose for silver.

The thing I really hated to see is that there was absolutely no competition for either the Canadians or the US; they outscored the rest of the world 86-4. Unless the rest of the world catches up soon, women's ice hockey may end up as one of the games on the discontinued list, due to lack of competition.

Looking forward to seeing the next Winter Olympics, with the hope that I will be seeing Women's Ice Hockey as well as Men's!

—Chris Burkland

Almont

Chris Burkland
March 16, 2010

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