America likes a winner, turns its back on hockey women quickly

The American women came up short against Canada for the gold medal in hockey at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. David Goldman/Associated Press

Tough crowd, this state of hockey.

A couple of letter writers to the Star Tribune show the U.S. women’s hockey team players are under some fire for shedding tears in the wake of their stunning defeat in the gold medal game against Canada on Thursday.

“These young women should have overcome their disappointment to stand tall and proud on the podium and then shed their tears in private,” Linda Daly of Bloomington wrote in the paper’s “letter of the day.”

“It merely shows childish, petulant behavior, and/or bad coaching, or both,” David Berger of Minneapolis said, just before he raised the debate to a more absurd level, claiming the newspaper shouldn’t have put a picture of the women crying on its front page.

“It reveals a lack of community responsibility showing this disgraceful display as an example for every young girl and boy on how a ‘real competitor’ behaves,” he wrote.

Los Angeles Times columnist Carla Hall finds it all a bit much:

For all the great athletic feats we’ve seen at the Olympics, it’s amazing how overly polished and slick and television-ready so many of the athletes look and act. The female athletes look made-up and blow-dried just minutes after hurtling down a ski slope. (Does Drybar have a pop-up salon in Sochi?) Their answers to TV reporters’ questions have been, with some fun exceptions, practiced and public relations approved.

So it was bracing to see a real and uncensored moment of emotion. And it was grim; the hockey players looked dejected and glum. Duggan clapped her hands over her face to hide her emotions on the medal platform. Other players wiped tears from their red eyes with their shirts. No blow-dried hair or blow-dried smiles for these young women.

“It’s not unsporting for athletes to cry when they come up short,” Hall says. “But it is unsporting to chastise them for it.”

  • CHL

    Those women have nothing to be ashamed of. They played their hearts out. Their emotions and exhaustion were real. We should be very proud of them.
    I was in a place with young men who I would have thought would be the most unlikely to support women athletes. They were cheering their hearts out for the team. That is a win right there.

  • BJ

    I’m pretty sure I have seen male competitors cry after a major loss. You work your whole life to come up 1 goal short.

  • Vince Tuss

    It’s not like we pay all that much attention to women’s hockey except once every four years. Even if you win 50 or 60 games in a row.

  • Dave

    Bob should do a story on why the Star Tribune attracts the worst commenters and letter-writers in the western hemisphere.

  • John O.

    I would much rather see the raw emotions of these young women who (pardon the cliche) left it all on the ice versus the sheer indifference of the U.S. men this morning against the Finns. I would also double-dog-dare the Strib to turn on the comments for these two letter writers if they really want to up their visitor counts, even though I know they usually don’t do that.