There’s an Olympic saying that goes, “you don’t win the silver medal, you lose the gold.”
That sentiment aptly describes women’s Olympic hockey. Since the Olympic hockey tournament expanded to include women in 1998, the event has been dominated by two teams – Canada and the United States.
Going into each four year Olympic cycle, Canada’s women’s hockey team expects they will be playing for the gold medal against their fiercest rivals. While the United States won that inaugural gold medal in Nagano, it’s been Canada doing the celebrating in each of the last four Olympic cycles and the United States wiping away tears.
Until Wednesday night.
Thirty-eight years after the men’s “Miracle On Ice,” the American women exacted their revenge and Canada was forced to settle for the silver medal. For at least one member of the Canadian team, the silver medal was not the prize she was willing to accept.
Jocelyne Larocque has been a member of Team Canada since 2008 and Wednesday night’s loss was the first time she had experienced having a medal of any other colour besides gold placed around her neck. During the medal ceremony, the native of Ste. Anne, Manitoba could be seen taking the silver medal off immediately after receiving it.
Nope, not interested in silver pic.twitter.com/H3fMW7ZfRW
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 22, 2018
While it was likely an emotional response to having just lost a heart-breaking game in the least desirable manner – a shootout – Larocque’s actions were quickly singled out for being selfish and unsportsmanlike.
Larocque put her actions down to being disappointed in the moment. “It’s just hard. You work so hard. We wanted gold but didn’t get it.”
According to the Globe and Mail an official with the IIHF pulled Larocque aside and told her no matter how sad she was there is a “legal” reason for keeping the medal around her neck.
Larocque’s medal ceremony reaction was similar to Sweden’s Lias Andersson, who also wanted nothing to do with the silver medal his team had earned in a dramatic loss to Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships back in January.
Andersson was so distraught that he tossed his medal into the stands, “the fans wanted it more.” While some understood Andersson’s emotional response, his sportsmanship and maturity was questioned as well.