Sun, Feb 28, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Look out, the party poopers are on the prowl again

By John Leicester  /  AP , VANCOUVER

Canadian ice hockey players Haley Irwin, left, and Tessa Bonhomme celebrate after winning gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Friday.
WARNING: Excessive consumption of alcohol can damage your health


Wipe that smile off your face! The Olympic fun police are on the prowl.

It wasn’t enough that International Olympic Committee (IOC) Mr Miserable-in-chief Jacques Rogge had to sour the last games in Beijing with his dour criticism that sprinter Usain Bolt’s celebratory showboating is “not the way we perceive being a champion.”

This time, just as everyone was having a little fun at the Vancouver Winter Games, it’s Canada’s gold medal-winning women hockey players who have had to apologize for being happy.

Bubbly-and-cigars happy.

Long after the joyous crowds had gone home, with only cleaners, venue staff and journalists busy telling the story of Canada’s 2-0 win over the US still in the building, the women went back onto their home ice at Canada Hockey Place with cold ones in their hands and had themselves a party.

Anyone with a sense of humor couldn’t help but laugh at the photos of Haley Irwin and Meghan Agosta on their backs on the ice, sharing a fat cigar, or Irwin pouring bubbly down the throat of Tessa Bonhomme. Goalies Charline Labonte and Kim St-Pierre posed at center ice, lying on their stomachs with a giant bottle of bubbly resting just above the Olympic rings.

It was deserved. If they were men, no one would have begrudged them a celebratory drink or 10.

“They let their hair down,” said Vancouver organizing chief John Furlong said on Friday of Boozegate. “Yes, they said they were sorry, but they’re great ambassadors for hockey, and they shouldn’t regret what they did for a moment.”

Thing about the stuffed shirts at the IOC, however, is that you can always expect at least one of them to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Rogge has done it at these Games by ducking blame for the training-run death of Nodar Kumaritashvili on the too-quick Olympic sliding track.

With Canada’s women, it was Gilbert Felli, IOC executive director of the Olympic Games, who stuck a ski boot-sized foot in his mouth.

Informed by an AP reporter of the celebration, Felli said: “If that’s the case, that is not good. It is not what we want to see.”

At risk of looking like the biggest party pooper since prohibition, the IOC executed a halfpipe-sized U-turn on Friday.

Spokesman Mark Adams said the Olympic governing body would write to Canadian organizers asking for more details.

He was careful not to call it an investigation.

For this mini-affair to end here, as it should, here’s what the letter should say: Have a good time? Need us to send over a few Olympic-sized packets of hangover tablets?

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