Canada’s Ice Queens did us proud in their Gold Medal victory over the American team last night. Win or lose; they behaved like champions.
Not only did the Canadian Girls show tremendous talent, resolve and courage during this game. They also showed their ability to play beyond the most atrocious refereeing I can remember since the “bad old days” of international hockey, when Eastern European referees were the 7th men on the ice for whichever European team was playing against Canada or the USA.
But; this time, it was an American referee, who was so bad, that she could give a new definition to the word incompetent. And if she wasn’t just incompetent, she was dishonest. I would prefer to think that she didn’t know what she was doing.
Not to take anything away from the fabulous Americans. Had the refereeing been honest, Canada would have won by a much larger margin. Last night belonged to the Girls from Team Canada, even though they skated almost one third of the game short handed.
To put all of this into a different perspective however. All of the Girls who played hockey at these games, did more to move the status of women ahead, than anything else I can think of. Therefore; in my opinion, there were two Gold Medals. The one the Canadian women won, and the Gold Medal won by every woman around the world as a result of the play by all the women from all the teams.
The hockey played by the women in this tournament was superb. As good as any hockey one will ever see played by men. The action kept me on the edge of the sofa, and the seat of my pants. And when the final buzzer sounded, I felt no less elation, than I would have, had it been if the players were men. Everyone I have spoken with had the same comment: “How about those women”.
These women: Canadian, American and European, all showed just how equal women can be, and are to men; and that in itself is a humongous victory for the entire world. CONGRATULATIONS TO THEM ALL!
Salé and Pelletier were robbed. The refereeing at the Canada/USA women’s Gold medal game was a disgrace. The refereeing at many of the men’s Canadian Hockey team’s games have been visibly unfair. The Russians have apparently been targeted for more drug testing than it seems other teams have. And on and on it goes.
The Russians are threatening to leave these games and perhaps not participate in the Athens’ Summer Games if something isn’t done about the horrific judging. And they are right. Instead of all the other nations pooh-poohing the Russian’s threats, they should be jumping onside with the Russians.
Nothing is worse than having judges/referees determine the outcome of sports events, rather than the talent of the competitors. And in these Olympics, this is what is happening. The judges and referees must be made to understand that no one; not one person will spend one penny to see the judges or referees perform. They should be as invisible as possible, and let the athletes win or lose on their own merit.
It appears that many of the judges have decided to become “handicappers”, and lean more towards one competitor than another. And this is unacceptable. If sport federations want to kill their sports, there is no better way to do it than by having the judges and referees do it for them.
About Wayne Gretzky:
I have been listening to talk show hosts dumping all over the “Great One”. Some have even gone so far as to say that in comparison to other great hockey players of the past, he isn’t all that great, since no one ever checked him. What a crock of crap.
Wayne Gretzky played hurt, sick and under every other negative condition one can imagine. And he was a constant target on the ice for everyone who wanted to stop him or slow him down. Not only did he score more points than anyone else, he also set up more goals than anyone else. Wayne Gretzky was (is) the ultimate team player.
Wayne Gretzky did more for hockey; especially in the USA, than anyone else, including the league. So: anyone who dumps on Gretzky’s ability to be Team Canada’s general manager, by saying he wasn’t the “Great One”, is someone whose opinion is not worth hearing.
Gretzky brought the same pride, intensity and honesty to his job as Team Canada’s general manager, as he brought to the ice every day he played. He was criticized for everything; from his selection of Pat Quinn as the head coach, to Mario Lemiuex who was labeled by some of the pundits as being too slow and old to be able to do the job. Guess what? Mario Lemiuex is not only the team leader off the ice, but he is also the leader and winner for Team Canada on the ice.
As for Gretzky’s outburst against the referees, the other teams and the media. He is right. When Fleury was so viciously cross-checked from behind in the last minutes of the Finland game, the guilty party should have been thrown out of the game and suspended for the rest of the tournament had Finland won. He didn’t even get a penalty. Just prior to that, one of the Finnish players was clearly seen savagely spearing a Canadian player. He too didn’t get so much as a reprimand.
In the NHL, both of these players would have been penalized with majors, booted out of the game, and receive subsequent game suspensions and probable fines. But not during these games. And not against the Canadians. The referees even allowed an obvious charge behind Canada’s net to go by without so much as a murmur, where the Canadian recipient of the charge had his forehead “busted” wide open when his head was shoved into the glass.
Does Wayne Gretzky have the right to stand before the Cameras of the world and complain? You bet he does. And not only does he have the right to complain, I think he has an obligation to do so. Wayne Gretzky had the guts to say publicly, what the rest of us were all thinking. He also had the guts to wear his pride in Team Canada, and the rest of our country on his sleeve. GOOD FOR THE GREAT ONE!
Whether Gretzky’s Team Canada wins Gold, Silver, Bronze or nothing. These players have given all of us quite a ride, by doing the best they can, against the other best players in the world.
What It Means To Be A Canadian Champion:
We don’t have to win medals to be champions. We only have to show up and do our best. And in that category, all the Canadians in all the disciplines have demonstrated true traits of championship.
We have won our medals with great pride and grace. And we have lost with great pride and dignity.
That is far more than one can say about so many competitors from other countries.
CANADA’S ATHLETES HAVE DONE US ALL PROUD.