Women’s Hockey In The Olympics

Due to the domination of the North American nations in Women’s Ice Hockey, discussion has surfaced regarding the viability of the sport in the Winter Olympics. Women have been treated as second class citizens in sports for ages. After years of ignoring and failing to support women’s sports, a few nations decided to reverse this trend. The increased support and funding for women’s sports programs has led to faster development and thus domination of other countries in international play.

The positive support of these programs has bettered the sport and the product that spectators come to watch. Competitive spirit has encouraged other nations to start providing a bit more support to their women’s hockey programs with an eye on international competitions. Just as this is gaining some momentum, some men, who have always had support and encouragement in sports, are calling for the sport to be removed from the international stage because it is boring to see the same teams win all of the time. There are likely some women involved in the decisions regarding the sports included in the Olympics, but these committees have historically preferred men’s sports. The Winter Olympics is the biggest, most far reaching showcase for women’s hockey without question. This opportunity to show the world the game draws more attention to the sport and inspires new participants.

Because a few nations have decided to give women more of a chance and others have been dragging their feet, some people want to deny the sport its biggest stage. That seems to be the most effective way to kill the sport as opposed to giving it time to grow and become more competitive. Why would other nations give support to programs that will not be noticed without the Olympics? Sure, some of us will pay attention to women’s hockey regardless of the Olympics but to be honest, it is a lot easier to support a sport when it is actually on television. Taking the sport off of the world stage will essentially kill it in many nations.

All of this leads to one conclusion: Progress deserves punishment when it comes to women’s sports.

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2 thoughts on “Women’s Hockey In The Olympics

  1. To take the example of Women’s soccer in the US, it was the wide exposure from not only the two World Cup wins in the 90s but also their Olympic Gold in that period that has driven them to the top of the world and has, even more importantly, got participation in the sport at record numbers, which is how you build for the future. Equally, the rapid rise in popularity and participation in Women’s Rugby in the US is due in no small part to the prospect of competing at the 2016 Olympics when Rugby is (finally) reinstated as an Olympic sport. In Ireland we’ve seen a surge in girls and women taking up Boxing after Katie Baker’s Gold Medal in London. When women’s sports are not going to have Professional leagues and the sort of coverage that entails (and that’s a whole other can of worms) anytime soon, these large-scale International showpieces are the best way of getting that vital exposure. I wonder how many Japanese girls are asking for skates after their team’s heroic efforts? But it’s going to take time to build for the future, so these calls for the scrapping of Women’s sports are not only sexist, they’re shortsighted and dangerous to the development of the sport as a whole. More participants (of both sexes) =brighter future for whichever game is being played. The Title IX legislation that ensured that equal funding is available for Women’s teams at the Collegiate level is also something that needs to be implemented more widely in the world.

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