Skating on thin ice?

Canada players throw their equipment aside as they celebrate after beating USA 2-0 to win the women's gold medal ice hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

February 26, 2010 8:32:38 AM PST
The IOC will investigate the behavior of Canadian women's hockey players who celebrated their gold medal by swigging beer and champagne on the ice. Players came back onto the ice more than half an hour after the 2-0 victory over the United States. Still in their uniforms and with gold medals draped around their necks, they swigged from bottles of champagne and cans of beer and smoked cigars.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, said he was unaware of the incidents until informed by an Associated Press reporter.

"If that's the case, that is not good," Felli said. "It is not what we want to see. I don't think it's a good promotion of sport values. If they celebrate in the changing room, that's one thing, but not in public. We will investigate what happened."

Felli said the IOC would talk to the international ice hockey federation and the Canadian Olympic Committee to get more information.

"We will first find the facts and then act accordingly," he said.

Steve Keough, a spokesman for the Canadian Olympic Committee, said the COC had not provided the alcohol nor initiated the party.

"In terms of the actual celebration, it's not exactly something uncommon in Canada," he said, referring to raucous locker-room celebrations that are a tradition in some professional team sports.

"If these athletes were of legal age, then it's not something that's against the law," he said. "We can understand there's a lot of sensitivity around celebrations."

Marie-Philip Poulin, who scored both goals, doesn't turn 19 until next month, when she'll be of legal drinking age in British Columbia. The drinking age in Alberta, where the Canadian team trains, is 18. Photos show Poulin on the ice, with a beer in her hand.

"We condone celebrations. ... We don't condone actions of irresponsibility," Keough said. "I think Canadians understand it's quite an emotional moment for our team. It was not our intention to go against any IOC protocols."


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