A chilly reception

22 February 2018 | Liz Bowen

As well as providing us with some spectacular (and not so spectacular) stunts, fancy dance routines and ‘will they, won’t they’ romance scenarios, this year’s Winter Olympics has been generating headlines for more than just the sports.

From one of Team GB’s biggest medal hopes, Elise Christie, crashing out in all three of her events to the majestic (un)skill of skier Elizabeth Swaney, to the sizzling chemistry between Canada's ice dance champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, there’s been a lot to talk about regarding this year’s events in PyeongChang2018.

However, staying with Canada, the behaviour of one of the country’s women’s hockey players has divided fans after the team lost their final match to arch rivals, the USA, following a dramatic shootout.

With the loss putting an end to Canada’s streak of four gold medals in the last four Olympic games, it’s understandable that the team would be upset.

But on being presented with their silver medals, player Jocelyne Larocque immediately removed the medal and reportedly refused to wear it for over 30 minutes, despite calls from her teammates among others.

She eventually put it back on after being told to do so by an official from the hockey’s governing body.

Despite Larocque’s obvious upset – a number of her teammates were also seen openly crying following the match – the move has seen her blasted by fans for being ‘unsportsmanlike’, ‘classless’ and a ‘sore loser’ while others have called her actions disrespectful to the rest of her teammates and, indeed, her country.

Having never really been much of a sportswoman, I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a game, especially such a crucial one on the grandest of international stages.

However, from what I do know about team sports, it was my understanding that you’re taught discipline and to compose yourself with a bit of dignity – not so much here.

In sports, there will always be a winner and a loser. It is, quite literally, part of the game. Some people have jumped to Larocque’s defence, saying that this wasn’t really a battle for gold or silver. It was, like most sports games, a battle of win v lose, which may explain her behaviour.

As I said, I can’t imagine how she, or indeed the rest of the team, must be feeling after the match, but unfortunately Larocque’s actions – clearly committed in an act of passion for her sport and her country – have overshadowed any dignified exit the Canadian team could have made from the 2018 Olympic stage.