I’m as proud as any Canadian over the gold medals we snagged at the Winter Games in Vancouver, but I’m still ticked off at the mens’ hockey game.
Wait, you say – you’re Canadian. You won! What’s the problem?
Well… I don’t look at mens’ hockey as even being a fair sport now that the NHL is able to send their players to the Olympics. I mean, let’s face it – there was a very slim possibility that any teams BUT the US and Canada were going to make it to the gold medal round. There just aren’t enough players from other nations in the NHL for a country to field anything that could compete with the US/Canada juggernaut of NHL players.
Which, again, burns my butt. These highly-paid hockey players didn’t march in the Opening Ceremonies, flew in after playing their last professional game, ran through the competition like a hot puck through butter, and then after playing the final game yesterday afternoon, LEFT with their medals before the Closing Ceremonies. To get BACK to their NHL teams because they had to play their professional games tonight and God Forbid that these professionals don’t show up on their teams for even a single night.
Really. This is what the Olympics has come to? Look at the way the womens’ hockey team, both of them, reacted. (Ignore the slight controversy over the celebrations, please.) Both teams were made up of women, amateur women who love the sport, who brought their kids and husbands and had to work hard to raise funds to get to the Games and who looked happy as all get-out.
The men? They grabbed the medals with the same enthusiasm as the Stanley Cup and ran for the door. No family, no friends, no kids on the ice.
It’s the same as in the Summer Games with the NBA sending the US Dream Team in basketball. Do you really think that some small country like Nigeria can even hope to field a team to compete with that sort of talent? Do you think the NBA/NHL even care that they’re destroying the concept of amateur? Why the IOC let them in is understandable, they wanted ratings. But they’ve sacrificed one major component of the Olympics, the “amateur” label.
Give me the curling team holding bake sales to pay for their trip to the Games. Give me the hometown skater working hard in the corner store while the entire town pulls together to get him to the Games. Give me the skier who sacrifices everything she has to get her one shot at the medal.
You can keep the overpaid, fancy boys who don’t even have the time to march with their fellow Olympians. Bah.