I was going through the Olympics photos for another article, and one thing that caught my eye is the contrast between the medal receptions of the three Women’s teams at the 2014 Shochi games. As could be expected, there is nothing but happiness and celebration seen in the Team Canada photos (see example below). By contrast, the United States women’s team is crushed and visibly hurt and upset by having the gold medal snatched from them in overtime. This is a team that just missed the gold medal by a matter of inches in the third.
Then you get to the Bronze medal match up, and Switzerland is celebrating nearly as much as Team Canada. In a competition with two hockey super powers like the United States and Canada, the Bronze medal might as well be gold for the remaining teams in the tournament. But the third place team is happier than the second place team.
It brings to mind what Jeff Marek of SportsNet said on a recent episode of the Marek vs Wyshynski Podcast. A team WINS the gold medal. A team WINS the bronze medal. A team only loses to get the silver medal. It is an unfortunate part of the Olympic competition that a great honor like winning a silver medal cannot be celebrated, but it is understandable that it is received with disappointment.
This differs from the individual sports at the Olympics, as often just winning an olympic medal is seen for the huge accomplishment it is. You win silver in downhill skiiing. The Silver and Bronze medalists are not looked upon as “losers”.
Hopefully some day the members of the United States women’s team will get to reach that ultimate goal of winning the Gold Medal. It would mean a lot to the sports in the US, as well as serve to further grow Women’s Hockey. In addition, hopefully the wounds of yesterday’s defeat will eventually heal and the silver medal can be seen for the humongous honor it truly is.