Here’s the argument – because Canada and the US routinely crush the opposition (Canada beat Slovakia 18 – 0 and the US beat China 11 – 1) the sport is too lopsided and therefore should be retooled or even removed from the Winter Olympics. Using that logic, should every other sport be equally ‘fixed’ to make it more competitive? Perhaps Usain Bolt should slow down when running the 100m so that the runner from Somewhereastan appears to be more competitive, or at least made to wear lead shoes. How about making Michael Phelps swim in oatmeal so that the other swimmers have a better chance? No? Didn’t think so.
I think my hockey is showing. I hate double standards. The Canadian and American women are at the top because they work their butts off to be at the top. They shouldn’t be punished for that.
The Americans and Canadians are also on top because funding is better here and the programs here are better. I follow the Swedish women’s team (which, hi, beat the US in Torino) and a good chunk of the team has come to the US to play college hockey. Yes, there’s a women’s league in Sweden but the disparity is just as bad there. Up until a year ago, there were two top teams that chewed up the other six. This season, there’s much more parity.
It’s going to take time, but the other countries are improving. It really won’t be too much longer until Sweden or Finland takes a gold. Also, consider the World Juniors. I seem to remember the Canadian U20 team there blowing out a game or three but no one’s threatening to get rid of that tournament any time soon.
If they don’t want to play, they don’t have to come. American-Soviet rivalry dominated the Olympics for years. It’s just the way it is sometimes. Are we going to stop having gymnastics because the Americans and Chinese blew everyone else away?