Saturday, February 27, 2010

Canadian Women Behaving Badly?

On Thursday night, the Canadian women's hockey team took the gold medal after beating the US 2-0 in the final round. After they accepted their gold medals and thanked the cheering crowd, the women returned to the locker room and began their post-game victory celebration.

After about 30 minutes, the Canadian women took their celebration from the locker room back out onto the ice. The athletes were photographed drinking beer and champagne and smoking cigars, smiling and joking with each other - all the while, wearing their gold medals. One athlete, Rebecca Johnston even tried to drive the zamboni around the rink.

When photos of the victory celebration surfaced, many were offended, or at least mildly irritated with the women's display of exuberance. The IOC is now investigating the matter to determine whether any rules were violated. Gilbert Felli, executive director of the Games stated: ""I don't think it's a good promotion of sport values," he said. "If they celebrate in the changing room, that's one thing, but not in public. We will investigate what happened."

For it's part, the team released a statement apologizing for the incident, saying: "The members of Team Canada apologize if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone," the statement said. "In the excitement of the moment, the celebration left the confines of our dressing room and shouldn't have. The team regrets that its gold medal celebration may have caused the IOC or COC any embarrassment."

Does this moment really warrant that much outrage, however? Male teams celebrate exuberantly all of the time with champagne, beer, and cigars. Granted, much of these celebrations take place in the locker room, but it is not as if the women accepted their gold medals with with alcohol flowing and cigars already lit.

If this was a male team's celebration, would it get the same amount of outcry from the IOC and the media, or would we just look at it as another instance of "boys being boys?" Are we uncomfortable with the images of women celebrating in a way that is loud and perhaps not as mannered as we're used to? Are we upset that the exuberant participants are Canadian and not American?

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