It’s incredible to measure exactly how much Team USA’s unbelievable solidarity last season led to its 1st gold medal in 20 years. However, any team that can back up its difficulties with that kind of show deserves all the kudos thrown its way.
As the US celebrated the conclusion of a stunning run of bad luck in the Olympics with their 3-2 shootout win over Canada in the gold medal game, it might have been simpler to forget that less than 12 months ago, the U.S. women’s program was in shambles. The team warned of boycotting the World Women’s Championship due to the huge discrimination between not only the men’s and women’s teams in the US, but a big gap between the benefits compared to their Canadian rivals.
And this isn’t just about money. What these extraordinarily brave women desired was equality. While the moguls were trashing their rooms, the women’s team was winning their 1st gold medal in women’s hockey, a feat that was overlooked when US Hockey put out its men’s’ and women’s’ sweaters for the 2014 Games.
Those sweaters, the women’s and men’s, paid tribute to the male winners in ‘60 and ‘80, while totally ignoring the women’s accomplishment in ‘98. The marketing chances weren’t there. The money was terrible. A program that had won 7 gold medals and 10 silvers in 17 World Championships to that point was always thriving forward. The men’s program that hadn’t won a World Championship since ‘33 or a silver medal since ‘56 was treated like royalty.
So if you’re a female who has desires of playing hockey for the US someday and Amanda Kessel or Hilary Knight come to your school, you might want to take a minute to thank them for the legacy they left off and on the ice.