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Canadian Women, Olympic Questions

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First, here’s the link to my article for The Hockey News, explaining why Canadians want the US hockey team to fall on their keys (that really hurts, BTW).

*****

I am officially a fan of the Canadian women’s hockey team.  Honestly, that gold medal celebration got them goalie bags full of street (rink?) cred, as far as I’m concerned.

Women’s sports are constantly beaten down by the crappy mantra “fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals”.  Glad somebody finally threw a curveball.

Way to represent. No seriously. ...I mean that seriously.

First, the game was ten times better than any other women’s games I had seen in the tournament (This is how you commentate a China/Slovakia women’s hockey game ”She shoots, she… no, no she doesn’t.  She fanned.  Passes it out to, wait, wait, she’s still trying to corral it… hang on a sec here”).  The most boggling thing is the massive divide between the quality of these two teams and the rest of the world.  Poulin’s first goal was f**king nasty.  Little one-tee high glove?  Count it, thanks.

But the celebration.  Oh the celebration.  It was like my own personal fantasy unfolding.  Winning gold, grabbing a Molson Canadian (yes, I would be loyal in that moment) a fat stogie, and riding the zamboni around. 

Let the IOC do what they will.  You can’t take fun away from girls who’ve already had it. 

Nobody's even shotgunning them. That's not very Canadian.

 

Great job ladies!  One for one…. it’s gonna be hard to top your celly though.  Maybe if the men win they’ll bring bongs out and just let ‘er rip.

*****

Nothing hotter than a granite jawline. Wait, what?

Two things from the Olympics I wanna get your take on:

One:  About people like Lindsay Vonn and Michael Phelps – If you’re the “best” (okay, no quotation marks needed for Phelps) at your sport – skiing or swimming – how many different ways is it fair to repackage what you do and give out another medal? 

I mean, no disrespect, what they do is phenomenal.  But does lengthening the distance at which Michael Phelps out-swims people really justify a whole new medal?  I feel like Vonn has been in 83 events so far, how many cracks at gold should one person get?

Apollo Anton Ohno – one of the best speed skaters in the world (and easily the most annoying), won medals in the 500, 750 1000, 1012, and the 1201, I think.  Not sure how it should work, just seems odd to qualify one olympian as more successful than the the next because they changed the distance at which someone gets to show they’re still better than other people.  I’m sure if you added 30 seconds to the figure skating long program and gave out a whole new medal that Korean girl (Kim Yu-Na) still would’ve wiped her face with the field.

And second:  Isn’t it kinda scuzzy when guys go over to play hockey in Europe, play there just long enough to get citizenship, then play in international competition for that team?  It happens all the time.  Oh, I represent the English national team in the Spengler Cup.  Why?  You’re not from there, you’re family’s not, you didn’t grow up there, you just spent an extended vacation there.  How is that fair? 

Ah... BC. Refreshing.

{Yes, I know I was born in the US and claim Canadian, but can you blame me?  I spent the years of my life that I was able to think there.  From six until my 20′s, I was growing up in Canada (and every summer of my 20′s) with parents that are 100% Canadian, as is all my extended family.  Hardly the same as spending five winters in Germany and then playing against the country you and you’re family are actually from in international play.}

Its the same as when you hear about some skiier or other athlete that didn’t make their national team, discovered one of their parents is half Whatever, so they got citizenship and “represented” that country.  That’s not representing a country, that’s representing the figurative name-on-your-back.  I don’t blame them for wanting in on the Games, it just seems disingenuous to put on team colours when they’ve grown up and been trained in a different country.  (Mmm, xenophobia – always goes down smooth.)

*****

That’s it that’s all for today.  Men’s Olympic semifinal hockey today.  Sure would be a lot more fun if Bri didn’t have to work tomorrow, ON A SATURDAY.  Maybe I’ll work too.  That’d make her feel better.  Yep, I’m gonna work tomorrow.  (Pssst.  I won’t be working tomorrow.)

{Justin’s note, via Justin:  Justin does tweet on weekends…. usually more, since he drinks then, too.  Follow him… er, me… here}

Comments

34 Responses to “Canadian Women, Olympic Questions”
  1. Beaton says:

    Have to disagree with your second point, If you could only represent the country you were born in and spent most of your life in than I’m pretty sure we (Canada) would lose all our sprinters in the summer olympics.

    Loved the game last night and also loved the story that came out today that the canadian team snuck out and played two exhibition games against midget AAA teams during the olympics too keep sharp.

    http://www.ctvolympics.ca/hockey/news/newsid=52231.html?cid=rsstsn

  2. Kwisatz says:

    Apparently the IOC is going to investigate the “celebration”. Lots of commentary going on over on the NPR website. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/02/canadian_women_party_hearty_af.html

    I find it ridiculous that anyone is complaining about their celebration. It is another non-scandal scandal like Brandy Chastane ripping her jersey over her head and showing everyone her sports bra.

    They smoke they drank and one was slightly underage. Who cares they just won the biggest game of their careers. If I was allowed to smoke and drink on Olympic ice after winning I would totally do it. Its not like they were doing blow off of each other while saying “Kids this is what olympic athletes do to celebrate”.

  3. Mike P. says:

    Glad you are giving the women some credit. That was a great game. I wish the US wouldn’t have gotten shut out though. The women athletes deserve respect.

    Point One: I think the distances are similar to track events. 400m, 800m etc. I’m ok with the differences. Totally agree that Apollo should shave off the 90′s facial hair and un-douchify himself.

    Point two: Totally agree.

  4. KarenfromRochester says:

    The citizenship thing…there was some female skater on either a pairs team or dance team that they were talking about one night where the announcer said she grew up in America and had been given citizenship to this particular country (can’t remember what it was, some small country in the eastern bloc, I think) JUST to be able to skate in the Olympics with the male partner who was from that country. I remember thinking that didn’t seem fair.

    And the canadian women’s celebration was hil-frickin-larious! I heard about this morning, but hadn’t seen the pics until now. Why can’t the ladies have a little fun? I know that’s something I would have done, were I one of them!

  5. Cassie says:

    I guess that I really am one of the very few who thought that the smoking and drinking alcohol in public while wearing their national team uniforms was wrong, huh? That’s so sad. Not sure who to blame on that one. I don’t care what they do privately, but I still believe that that’s not right to do publicly.

  6. Frank says:

    Justin, I agree with your comment on the medal count. You cannot measure an olympian’s success by how many medals they get….but by how they DOMINATED the sport they were in. Some sports only have 1 medal…..some have well over 20.

    I always get suspicious when someone throws out statistics to make a point (in sports or politics), because there is always a catch to what they are saying…..

    On the national thing….I mostly agree with you. I think there are some exceptions…… Martina Navratilova is a good example…..she defected as an adult from Czechoslovakia to the US during the Cold War…..because she could use her status as a great tennis player as an opportunity to escape from the communist world. Sorry, I can’t resist playing devil’s advocate.

  7. jtbourne says:

    No, that’s great, advocate away, it’s a discussion. The citizenship topic wasn’t even my idea to discuss, actually, just had a friend mention it to me and thought it was worth putting my thoughts down. But yeah, it’s a dicey topic. In reality, how can anyone decide who’s what. It’s pretty black and white, legally – a citizen is a citizen is a citizen.

    As for Cassie, it’s fair to not approve of their actions. The only thing I would say is, people know other people drink right? So why does seeing people do something (that’s legal) make it worse? (minus one girl, big deal…. lets not be naive here) And is it just me, or do the cigars make it seem worse? Like had it just been beers it would’ve been less frowned upon? I dunno. Either way, I remain unchanged…. you only live once. I bet that moment felt great. Absolutely great. It’s a shame they have to answer questions about that and not the being-awesome-at-hockey part today.

  8. Mike P. says:

    I have to agree with Cassie. I think it was a little disrespectful. Like it or not a lot of responsibility comes with wearing that jersey. I don’t have a problem with the drinking per se, just the public aspect of it. USA snowboarder Scotty Lago was sent home for disrespectful photos of him and his Olympic medal. Olympic athletes need to represent their country in the best possible light. I’m not sure if this was

  9. JD says:

    Funny you mentioned Ohno. I think your whole “recylcing the same event, just a different distances” theory is TOTALLY most applicable to short track. I mean, you watch those races and it’s coasting for the first X number of laps and then busting balls for 2-3. Is coasting 20 laps and skating for 2 in the 1000m THAT much harder than coasting 10 and skating for 2 in the 500? You really deserve another medal because you successfully pulled that off? Couldn’t agree more about the whole thing.

  10. jtbourne says:

    Great point JD – running 200 vs. 400 meters in the summer olympics is a whole different ball of wax. Speed skating comes down to who’s the fastest (or most devious) last 2/3 lap sprinter, no matter how many laps you kick around first. Same equation.

  11. Cassie says:

    Justin, I don’t care that they were drinking and smoking. My problem is that they were doing that in a public place wearing their national uniforms. I’m all for having fun and celebrating – and they’d just won an Olympic gold medal so they SHOULD be celebrating – but that’s inappropriate. I don’t care if it’s men or women, US or Canada, you don’t disrespect your national team uniform. That’s where I draw the line.

  12. RewskiUVA says:

    Greatest. Celebration. EVER. HolyCrapI’mSoJealousIMightCrapMyself. That celebration seriously took the sting out of the US losing. I kinda feel like, if your gonna make it look that good, maybe you deserve to own it.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/02/26/canada-s-women-s-hockey-team-celebrate-with-beer-cigars-ioc-gets-huffy.aspx

  13. John Bordelon says:

    As an American, I totally can appreciate the celebration. So what?! The arena was empty of fans. This was not a public display. They earned the gold, let them celebrate in a golden fashion. Ok, ONE lady was slightly under aged. Who has not had a drink under aged? She earned it. Between this ‘inappropriate behavior’, covering up ‘Miller Time’ on Ryan’s mask and covering up the yellow ribbon on Quick’s mask the IOC needs to get off their high horse and chill out.

  14. Jhett says:

    Not to be rude, but personally I think Cassie is overreacting. The team was celebrating in the locker room and then was asked to come out and take a picture on the rink after all the fans had left. To me at that point the ice just became an extension of the locker room. It’s not like immediately after the win they ran into the locker room and came right back out with beers and cigars.

  15. jtbourne says:

    Wait, the fans had already left? Oh, well then this conversation is over. I totally understand Cassie’s point of wearing the jersey, and staying respectful while wearing it, and all that, I really do. But with no fans, that seals it for me. Molson’s all around!

  16. ms.conduct says:

    Yeah, fans were gone. Just some press people left. Honestly, those pictures put tears in my eyes every time I see them. They earned every little bit of that joyous moment and I’m glad they had to freedom to loll around on the ice and commandeer the Zam and that someone captured it so we could share in it.

    Can’t quite figure out WHY they’d want to smoke cigars, but hey, whatever feels good. This is their Stanley Cup. Do it up any damn way you see fit. Can you imagine? Amazing. AMAZING. I just wish it’d been my Americans doing it instead. :)

  17. jtbourne says:

    …Or your precious Chinese, Conduct…. (one step away from calling you “Connie”)

  18. MWL says:

    i understand the olympics is about sportsmanship and all that hooey, but as americans i feel it is a gross double standard to show 20 min of a baseball celebration where people are spraying champagne and slugging diet budwisers and then judge the women for their cele…who cares. Though i find the act of women (and men for that matter) smoking to be off putting, but to each their own.

  19. Mike P. says:

    MWL… The difference is being paid to play a sport versus playing for your Country. Huge difference.

  20. ms.conduct says:

    Oh son, don’t mess with my Chinese girls. Call me Connie all you want but don’t even go there. Mr.C almost made me cry in a restaurant the other day because he was downplaying their awesomeness. I’m so not a “girl” like that but I was SO A “GIRL” LIKE THAT about my Chinese girls. I wanna hug their goalie and tell her how much I adore her.

  21. Jim L. says:

    eh bourne how bout them americans eh, 6-0 after the first

  22. jtbourne says:

    Alright, US, looks like you reeeeally wanna do this then… *takes off shirt to fight* ….

  23. Pete L says:

    Just read your THN article. Well at least one team played like a wood chipper. Too bad the Fins were the ones with their skates hanging out of it!!!

    The Finns are pulling a Ruskie here. That’s the term for QUIT.

  24. Beer:30 says:

    Why not look at the country jumping topic from another angle. Look at the medal count by nation. Statistically, the little guys don’t have a prayer. The Olympics is a huge national pride thing. Who am I to tell all the people in those little country that they shouldn’t have a better shot at least placing higher just because they don’t have a deep enough talent pool. Who am I to tell athletes from deep nations that they shouldn’t be able to compete because their own country is too talented. I seem to remember one nation that got hung up on all this rac…. I mean national purity stuff. They weren’t popular.

    All joking aside you’ve got to ask the question. What is the point of the Olympic Games? It’s politically correct to call it an athletic competition. It started as a nationalistic competition. During the 1936 Berlin games not many were thinking sportsmanship. It was played out by governments as a philosophical battle about which country produced the best people. The propaganda stakes were much higher during the cold war than just medal count.

    In the past player poaching would have been unthinkable because it would have been tantamount to admitting that another country is better. Those that remember the Cold War and the epic battles between east and west on athletic battlefields isn’t there anymore. With the loss of tension the Olympics don’t have the same release they once did. It was a chance for people to see the tension played out and then feel at the end that everything would be OK. The two sides were standing side by side on the stand in peace. What patriotic player would want to play for another country? It’s obvious that the games have changed. What have they changed to? I think some of the power of the Olympic Games has gone. I think the symbolism has changed. The second golden age of Olympics is gone.

    Does this mean that the Olympics are at least partly defined by international politics? Do they mean more in times of crisis? Do they mean less now because of a lack of defining globally themed conflict?

    With players for hire the Olympics is turning into a professional sport with athletes for hire. It doesn’t have the same power as people training for years to represent their own country. While I love the level of competition in Olympic hockey you’ve got to ask yourself if professionals playing cheapen the experience. I know the games would be closer if the pay-for-players were kept out. I think it might have a little more meaning to the people of the nations as well.

    One thing I am pretty sure of is that it wasn’t about the best in the world. It was about the best from each country. I’m not sure what the Olympics is if there are people playing for a country just to play. I don’t begrudge smaller or less talented country for wanting to compete but it redefines the games. What is it now?

    This isn’t a manifesto of my position. Just some thoughts.

  25. Beer:30 says:

    Re-reading I hate not being able to edit! MUST CHANGE ALL SENTENCES TO SAME TENSE! Need to break up paragraphs and make them cohesive! I’m starting to wonder if that boarders on OCD.

  26. Mike P. says:

    Bourne… I have to give you credit on the Springfield vs Shelbyville reference!! Any Simpsons reference is a good one!

  27. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Regarding the disparity between womens hockey in Canada/USA and everywhere else. I heard the commentators say that of all the female hockey players – Canada has 50% of them, the USA has 48% of them. Can anyone confirm if I heard that right? That leaves the rest of the world with 2% of the female hockey players? No wonder we crushed them. I give them a lot of credit for showing up and working to advance the sport in their home country!

  28. Pat says:

    Awesome celebration. A rink all to yourself is sweet anyday, but being able to celebrate the win that way must’ve been perfect. And scew the photographers for publicizing it……should’ve been kept private for the players to enjoy.

    The US and Canada women should just have their own series every four years. I really can’t see women’s hockey lasting in the Olympics.

  29. Aces Arbitrage says:

    Just a question cause I don’t know the answer: How long has Dany Heatly lived in Canada? Good point about the medal count, maybe hockey can have 2 tourney’s one on 200X100 and 200X85. They could also change the size of the goal, or have 3 on 3 teams.

  30. Tricia says:

    Ahhh! Thanks for finding the pic of Sostorics on the Zamboni. I played minor hockey with her.

  31. marie says:

    I personally like how Martin Brodeur is a Canadian and US citizen, yet plays for Canada. Funny how no one brings that up. Good article here.
    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=508358

  32. Raj says:

    In defense of the few, and dwindling, Canadians who play for Great Britain in international competition; they’re guys who’ve lived and played in the UK and Ireland for over a decade, whose families (or kids at least) are UK-born and who have mostly retired here after their careers. Since the highest level most of them played at was old IHL or AHL, it seems fair enough to let them have a crack at international play.

    On another vein, it’s helped out the development of our domestic game no end. The first English AHL player, Davey Phillips, has been doing pretty well for Rockford this year. It was partly through Canadians playing for GB that Glasgow native Colin Shields got the chance to be drafted by Philly in 2000. He played in the minors before coming back to the UK, largely because he’s completely incapable of weighing more than 175lb. Crazy talented though.

  33. fish says:

    The other great brittish player:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Hand

  34. Jody says:

    Like you, i was born in the U.S to two Canadian parents (like you, my dad played for a US team in the NHL and I was a winter baby so that was the only reason I was born here at all). I find it insulting that people think I should cheer for the U.S becasue I “grew up” here. No, I spent my winters here while my dad played hockey and returned to Canada in the summers. My dad played for Team Canada his entire career and was even their team GM during the first Olympics the NHL players participated in. I even married a Canadian For goodness sake. Yet, people continue to question why I don’t cheer for the U.S. and my favorite question is, “why do you cheer for Canada when you were born here?”. So, if someone was born in China while their folks were vacationing there they should be expected to cheer for the Chinese?
    Please people! I am a Canadian fan because that is who I was taught to love and cheer for by my parents…. I am a Canadian fan because I do not have a single relative living in the US other than my immediate family. I am a Canadian fan because I was raised in a house with Canadian traditions, values, using Canadain slang (yes, I say eh) and celebrating Canadian holidays (and no, the 4th of July is not a Canadian holiday. July 1st is our day of independance and we refer to it as “Canada Day”). I still spend my summers in Canada and raise my kids in the most Canadian household possible.
    Thanks, Justin for helping me to justify my position on this. It may seem silly to some but my loyalties towards Canada are real and they are strong.

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