Team sports at the Olympics are a weird thing when it comes to the medal round. If you win your respective sport you take home a gold medal you are proud of and will always cherish and remember. But if you lose in that gold medal game it’s heartbreak and for some, shame, and they’ll always look at that medal as a sign of failure and that they just weren’t quite good enough to get gold.
And then there’s the bronze medal, where you had to have lost to one of the two teams in the gold medal game, but you have to win and end your Olympics on a high-note to earn that medal.
So which would you rather take home in a team sport? If you watched the medal ceremony following last night’s women’s gold medal game between Canada and the USA, the answer was obvious. There were three teams crying on the ice last night, and two of them were happy tears.
When Canada fell in the shootout, there were a few players who immediately took off their silver medals while fighting back tears, not wanting to wear it because it was basically a symbol that they had come up short on the biggest stage against their biggest rivals. And really, who could blame them? In women’s hockey it is basically gold or bust for Canada, and they came up bust this tournament.
Site contributor @CallMeBednard had this to say about coming up short and taking home the silver:
Win and earn bronze for sure. Had that debate while drunj last night. I think it’s better to be a third place WINNER than second place LOSER. I mean, it’s awesome to make it to the championship game. That’s a hugely high honor. But…buddy, you lost to end your Olympics.
Across the ice was Finland, who were CRUSHED by USA in the semifinals by a 5-0 margin, but they redeemed themselves in the bronze medal game with a 3-2 win over the Olympic Athletes from Russia, and were honored at last night’s game. They too were crying, but it was tears of joy, and some players seemed to be in genuine shock and awe as their bronze medals were placed around their necks. Technically, they did worse than Canada in the tournament, but if you didn’t see the color of their medals, you would have sworn Finland had the better games.
Personally, if it were me I would rather win a bronze and go home on a victory, rather than losing and being handed a consolation prize in the silver medal.
Now, this goes out the window in most cases in individual events. If you’re a skier or luger or whatever your individual sport is, there is, to steal a phrase from Talladega Nights, nothing wrong with silver.
Sure, maybe you were the gold medal favorite and didn’t have your best run and you’re forced to “settle” for silver, but if you weren’t viewed as a serious threat in the event and pull off a miracle run that is your personal best time or score and it gets you on the podium, hell yeah you want to take home a silver over a bronze.
There are plenty of people who have returned home from the games with a bronze of silver medal who are celebrated by their hometown like they just cured cancer, and well they should, because they just proved they are among the three best in the world in their respective sport.
But for the Canada women, there likely won’t be a parade or celebration. Maybe the medal will hang at their local rink or something, but for the players, I’d bet they look at it and wish they’d never “won” it.