The Comm and Gender Spot

Monday, December 05, 2005

Big Rivalry Coming to the Winter Olympics

What has become a very friendly, yet highly contentious, rivalry will be coming to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

And what is more interesting to note is that this rivalry is between two women’s teams.

Women’s ice hockey became a medal sport as of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. In 1998, the United States was the team to bring home the gold. Then at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City the Canadian women won gold.

Over the past eight years these two teams have met many times in international play, with each time winning nearly an equal number of times.

This rivalry could come to a head in Turin, where it is expected that one of these teams will win gold while the other will win silver.

But what will result from this competition is an even higher profile for women’s ice hockey. Since the inclusion of the sport in 1998, the number of colleges with women’s ice hockey teams has increased from nine schools to more than thirty. Also, there are now two semi-pro women’s ice hockey leagues.

I know that I’ll be watching for this match during the upcoming Olympics, but the ramifications of such a high profile game will extend much farther than many of the viewers will realize.


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