Reusse blog: No gold for U.S. women's hockey? No glory

  • Blog Post by: Patrick Reusse
  • February 22, 2014 - 6:21 PM

Title IX became the rule under which scholastic and collegiate athletics were required to operate in June 1972. The intent was to provide equal opportunity to participate for women.

You can quibble as to whether that goal has been achieved by our educational institutions, but when there’s a rowing squad 40 women strong at the University of Minnesota, the numerical effort clearly has been made.

Amazing is the manner in which we in the American media continue to tiptoe around failure when it comes to women’s team sports.

We’ll cover it candidly if Serena Williams goes into a slump in tennis, or if Lolo Jones falls over a hurdle when expected to win an Olympic gold medal, but sugarcoating remains the preferred tact when a collection of American womanhood flops in its key moment.

To me, it is condescending that four decades after Title IX we still feel obligated to protect women from the reality of big-time athletics, where it is whether you win or lose.

The U.S. women’s hockey team lost 2-0 to Canada on Feb. 25, 2010, in the gold medal game at the Vancouver Olympics. At that moment, everyone involved understood that four years later, in Sochi, Russia, the same two national teams would be playing in the championship game.

There is no easier path to an Olympic gold medal than that provided to the women who make up the hockey rosters for the United States and Canada. Surviving the selection process is much more of a challenge than anything the Yanks or the Canadians face from other nations in the Olympic tournament.

The potential members of the U.S. women’s hockey team — either veterans or top prospects — could look out four years and know there was one true challenge between them and a gold medal: a game with Canada on Feb. 20, 2014, in Sochi.

There was no Olympic tournament “run’’ to be hailed, because international women’s hockey remains the U.S., Canada and a bunch of patsies.

One game to win. The Yanks led 2-0 with 3½ minutes remaining and lost 3-2 in overtime.

No gold. No glory. Simple as that.

Plus three from Patrick

• Forget Fred Hoiberg. The one move that would cure all that ails the Timberwolves for 2014-15, including lagging ticket sales and Kevin Love’s future, is hiring Michigan State’s Tom Izzo as coach.

• Reasons it might work: Izzo is 59, and it’s now or never. Glen Taylor would make him hugely rich. Trying to remain among college elite is more time-consuming than the NBA. And, yeah, Izzo is Flip Saunders’ buddy.

• My guess: Danny Santana will be the Twins’ starting shortstop before Miguel Sano at third base or Byron Buxton in center.

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