Consider these two drinking scenes from the party hearty Vancouver Olympics:
Jon Montgomery wins gold in men’s skeleton and someone hands him a pitcher of beer, which he chugs, to the delight of the fans. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, “Millions of Canadians watched him capture Olympic gold and celebrate by chugging a pitcher of beer…Now, Manitoba’s fast-talking, beer-drinking Olympic champion Jon Montgomery will be watched by millions more when he makes an appearance on [Oprah’s] talk show.”
The Canadian women’s hockey team beats the U.S. After all the fans have cleared out of the arena, the women have a raucous celebration on the ice–drinking beer, pouring champagne into each other’s mouth, smoking cigars. Controversy ensues.
Some feel it was inappropriate for the women to celebrate on the ice, instead of in the locker room; others are up in arms because one of the revelers, Marie-Philip Poulin, is just shy of 19, Canada’s legal drinking age. Still others feel the women are setting a bad example for their fans by drinking at all. In the end, Hockey Canada apologized for the incident.
At Drinking Diaries, we have maintained all along that for women especially, drinking is a loaded topic. This incident just cements it in my mind. Many have said that it would have been okay if the women had been in the locker room, but not on the ice. What irks me is the hypocrisy. We can drink, but we should hide it.
Hmmm. Jon Montgomery certainly wasn’t hiding his, and now he’s the MAN.
And what about all the alcohol ads we’re bombarded with during the Olympics?
As for the hockey players as role models, if my child heard about the hockey players’ celebrating by drinking, I would just say: “Honey, if you put in the years of clean living, hard work and dedication these women have, and you win a gold medal, I give you my permission to celebrate however you want.” Period. End of story.
So what did other people think? In response to an article in the CBC National Post, Vancouver, most people felt the hockey players should be allowed to have their fun. Dick Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who handed out the medals to Team Canada, said: “I think it’s kind of like killing a mouse with an elephant gun…These kids have worked like dogs for years and months, and the pressure is off. They had a huge game and a great win. Hey, let them have some fun.”
Here are some of the livelier comments:
“This is the most ridiculous double standard. No one blinked an eye when Jon Montgomery chugged a stein of beer, but heaven forbid that our gold medal winners in hockey would be anything other than ladylike!” –Bloody Mary
“Who the hell cares? Alcohol is THE drug of choice for most people in the western world, including members of the IOC, I bet, and we’re to freak out because a bunch of athletes who worked their asses off for years and have now pulled off a major victory, of which most Canadians are proud, have celebrated with a few drinks??!! I say drink up girls, and well done.” –Dietley:
“The ladies’ desire to celebrate is entirely understandable – they have been under enormous pressure, carrying a large piece of the nation’s hopes and expectations on their shoulders.” –Umbra Fever
“Oh here we go. Celebrating in front of who? The cleaning crew? 30 minutes later the arena was most likely cleared out. They tend to clear out fast…A good promotion of sport values? Then why is alcohol sold at these events? Do they think that the players don’t drink? For eff sakes they won a gold medal, let them celebrate with the cleaning crew if they want.”–Hockey Chick 68:
“Were they drinking non-Olympic sponsored beverages?” –Superquad 1968
“If they celebrate in the changing room, that’s one thing, but not in public.” –Nix O’Neill
“Kind of sums it up for the IOC: it’s all about appearances and artifice. Give me messy, unrehearsed reality ANY day. If they want to chug & puff, let ‘em chug & puff – they’re (fabulously talented) human beings, not icons.”
And what did the hockey players themselves have to say? Some apologized, but team Captain Hayley Wickenheiser felt there was a double standard at work: “I don’t brush it off, the underage [part] and being on the ice,” said Wickenheiser. “Those things maybe could have been done different. But at the same time, it’s celebrating, it’s hockey, it’s a tradition we do. When we see a Stanley Cup winner, we see them spraying champagne all over the dressing room, you see 18-year-old kids there and nobody says a thing.”
What do you think, dear Blog Readers? Do you think it’s okay for the athletes to celebrate their victory any which way, or do you think they crossed a line?
Source–women’s hockey team photo
Source–Jon Montgomery photo