Olympic officials may pull women’s hockey from the Games, get your torches and pitchforks ready

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 2, 2010 9:37 am

If this actually happens, I expect riots, looting, and organized boycott of the most vicious type. Not really sure what would be looted, but just go with me on the drama here.

Last week, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge announced that unless the depth of women’s hockey improves, he’ll pull the entire event from the Olympic Games. I’m sorry…what?

“We cannot continue without improvement”, he said. His issue is that Canada and the United States are so far and away better than every other team, it doesn’t make for fair competition.

OK dude. Here’s the problem with that argument. Women’s hockey was only implemented into the Games in 1998. For an event that only happens every four years, that’s not much time. Keep in mind that in men’s hockey, the Canadians won every gold medal except for one in the first 36 years of its  existence. As Ann Killion of Sports Illustrated reminds us, “By Rogge’s reasoning, cross-country skiing could never survive as an Olympic sport since Norway, Sweden and Finland (which would all be one country save for a few tectonic and glacial events) have dominated the Olympic competition since its inception in 1924″.

Rogge was getting a lot of heat before these Games for dismissing women’s ski jumping from inclusion into the Games. His latest remark regarding women’s hockey is not helping the gender bias accusations one bit.

You’d think that 20 years ago, when the IOC announced all future sports would be open to both genders, that this would be a non-issue. However, existing sports were exempt from that rule, so ski jumping for women is out. Now, that’s the only single-gender sport in the entire Olympics. Officials said not enough women do it. OK, but what about the newly-implemented ski cross? That has fewer participants.

Back to the hockey issue, if women’s hockey gets pulled, then according to the rules the IOC themselves created, men’s hockey would have to be pulled too. Let’s see how that one goes over.

Let’s close with another solid point from Sports Illustrated’s Ann Killion. “What the IOC doesn’t seem to get is that the Olympic Games are the absolutely biggest thing available to most women athletes. It is their Super Bowl, their World Series and their Stanley Cup combined.That’s why the Canadian women’s hockey players came back out on the ice an hour after winning the gold medal, trotting out the traditional accessories of sports celebration: cigars, champagne bottles and a few beers.They’re never going to lift the Stanley Cup over their heads, never going to sip out of it. But the Olympics gave them something close.

And wouldn’t you know, when the IOC executive director learned of the celebration he huffed that it was inappropriate and wanted to launch an investigation. What a foolish reaction.”