When it comes to Olympic hockey, Canada has a thing for gold.
Silver medals? Yuck. So very yuck, in fact, that, after the U.S. women’s team scored an epic, gold medal-clinching, 3-2 shootout victory over their chief rival Thursday in the PyeongChang Games, one Canadian player could not chuck her cootie-laden silver medal quickly enough. No sooner had the silver medal nestled onto the chest of the dejected Jocelyne Larocque than she removed it, as if to say, “Don’t get too comfortable there.”
Laroque subsequently issued an apology for her act, saying, “In the moment, I was disappointed with the outcome of the game, and my emotions got the better of me.”
“I meant no disrespect — it has been an honour to represent my country and win a medal for Canada,” Larocque said in a statement. “I’m proud of our team, and proud to be counted among the Canadian athletes who have won medals at these Games.
“Being on the podium at the world’s biggest sporting event is a great achievement and one that I’m thankful I was able to experience with my teammates.”
Prior to her apology, Laroque had said (via the Associated Press), “It’s just hard. You work so hard. We wanted gold but didn’t get it.”
At some point, she admitted at the time, she would look differently on winning silver.
“I mean, yeah, once we reflect,” she said. “But now, not at the moment.”
Larocque, who was on Canada’s gold medal-winning team four years ago in Sochi, and many of her teammates openly wept after the loss. Our neighbors to the north had won gold in the previous four Olympic Games — three times by beating the Americans — so you can perhaps understand their disappointment. Even as American fans in the stands shouted “Put your medal on!” at her, Larocque could and would not for about 30 minutes after the game.
Then, the Globe and Mail reported, “a man in a suit” (from the International Ice Hockey Federation) explained that there were “legal” reasons she could not refuse to wear it. Larocque nodded as she spoke with the IIHF official, according to the Globe and Mail, and then she walked off, with no clarity on her medal’s future.
As that drama was unfolding, Larocque was drawing plenty of social-media attention (both pro and con) for her “silver shmilver” stance.
“For all fans, young and old, please understand this was a moment in time that I truly wish I could take back,” Laroque said in her apology. “I take seriously being a role model to young girls and representing our country.
“My actions did not demonstrate the values our team, myself and my family live and for that I am truly sorry.”
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