MANOTICK, Ontario, Canada – After the Canadian women’s hockey team beat their American rivals to win gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada erupted with celebration.
At the heart of it was Coach Melody Davidson, who took time after the victory to talk with Youth Journalism International about the long road to Vancouver.
The rivalry between the two teams made for an incredible final game, but the path to victory for Canada started much earlier, with a lot of hard work.
The team underwent intense training and followed a tough schedule with plenty of practice. Maintaining strong motivation was crucial.
“We pushed them outside of their comfort zone,” Davidson said.
The rigorous training paid off in the preliminary round. Canada played Slovakia, beating them with an unimaginable score of 18-0.
“We knew we’d have a couple games like that,” Davidson said. “We wanted to win.”
Expectations were high, and fans nationwide eagerly anticipated the final game against the United States.
It was an intense game, but in the end Canada won, 2-0.
“Canada is expected to win all the time,” Davidson said of the pressures her team faced.
When the final buzzer sounded, signaling that Canada had won the gold, it was a moment of relief, gratitude and pride.
“Thank God it’s over,” said Davidson. “We did it.”
The Canadian win is the latest chapter in the relatively short history of women’s Olympic hockey. Hockey is a male-dominated sport, and it was only in 1992 that the International Olympic Committee voted to introduce women’s hockey into the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Canadian hockey teams dominated the sport in the late 90’s, but American teams eventually became good enough to compete with Canada.
A hockey rivalry was born, inspiring hockey pools, betting and the general excitement among fans.
As for the future of women’s hockey, Davidson said perseverance and having a tough skin is key for young girls dreaming of playing hockey in the Olympics.
“Work hard, and realize that there are a lot of opportunities,” Davidson said.
Jenna Potter is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
Also see Mehran Shamit’s story about one of the team’s stars.