Athletes can be forgiven for their emotions in the heat of competition, but one Winter Olympic athlete’s reaction to coming in second is rubbing people the wrong way.
On Wednesday, the United States’ Women’s Ice Hockey Team made history to defeat arch-rival Canada and snag their first gold medal in 20 years. While the US team was understandably excited about their wins, one member of Canada’s team was decidedly not.
Jocelyn Larocque, the Canadian defense-woman, immediately showed how displeased with the matches outcome even before leaving the rink.
As soon as the silver medal was draped around her neck, the 29-year-old athlete yanked it from her neck and held it in her hands. It seems second wasn’t good enough.
“It’s just hard,” she told the New York Times after the event. “You work so hard. We wanted gold but didn’t get it.”
Larocque’s actions was met with a wave of displeasure from people saying she was being “unsportsmanlike.”
“Disrespectful,” tweeted one Canadian fan. “Canadians have more class than that. I know she’s disappointed but have some class.”
“Second in the world. Since when did this become something to be ashamed of?” questioned another.
On the otherhand, many others rushed to her defense citing the fact that a silver medal simply means a loss.
“Gold or nothing for us. Always have always will be. They don’t play for a silver. She accepted it [then] took it off. Nothing wrong with that,” replied person.
Another tweeted that they felt “a bit sorry” for her because “she was clearly crushed at the defeat.”
According to The Globe and Mail, Larocque was heckled by American fans who told her to “put your medal on” and refused to do so until officials from the International Ice Hockey Federation informed that there were “legal” reasons why she couldn’t refuse to put on the medal.
She told the publication afterwards the medal could be a consolation after they’d had time to “reflect, but not at the moment.”
U.S. coach Robb Stauber said that he “definitely [understood the reaction]” because “it’s a very heated rivalry.” His team was in a similar boat of loss at the 2014 Sochi games, when Canada edged out Team USA in an overtime match.
Team USA landed their win after an epic 3-2 shootout, the first in Olympic women’s hockey history.