The U.S. women's Ice Hockey team which won the gold medal on Thursday morning at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after a dramatic penalty shootout win over arch-rivals Canada, has been criticized for lacking diversity. In an online publication for the website ebonyfocus.com titled: America's Obsession with its White Sweethearts, Shaunte Howard wrote:
"Last night I couldn't sleep so I turned on the TV to see what was showing. I saw that a women's Ice Hockey game was in progress. It was the gold medal game in the Winter Olympics - the good ole' Winter Olympics. It's the only time that you get to see mostly white athletes compete. The two teams that were competing were the USA and Canada. I think that the commentator referred to them as archrivals in the sport. Although I couldn't have cared less who won and I didn't take in the full game, I found out later that team USA won. Big deal."
"I know that a lot of you white Americans who are reading this are saying to yourselves: "You mean as an American woman you were not supporting team USA?" Why should I? Because I am American? I want to ask you white Americans, are you really of the ignorant view that that team is representative of people like me? I looked at the team carefully in the internet photos with the hope to see at least one woman of color there but I didn't see any. And to make matters worse the Canadian team also had an almost exact racial makeup. Was this an Olympic contest or a White Supremacist convention? I know that white America is rejoicing now. Their darlings have won. Hooray! I have to ask white America, why are you always looking for a white girl, or in this instance, a team of white girls to be the country's so-called "Sweetheart(s)" in the Olympics?"
Ms. Howard went on:
"In 1994 it was Nancy Kerrigan, in 1998 it was Tara Lipinski, in 2002 it was Sarah Hughes, in 2006 it was Julia Manusco, in 2010 it was Lindsey Vonn, in 2014 there were two - Jamie Anderson and Mikaela Shiffrin. This year we have a whole team of "Sweethearts" - a bunch of white girls taking full advantage of the privilege that their skin color allows them to have in this racist country. Just imagine in a country of roughly 300 million people there was not one strong, athletic black woman or Hispanic woman who was good enough to make the Olympic Ice Hockey team? Is this what we call progress? Where's the diversity? I think that more must be done to get minority women - especially black women involved in the sport. Does white America still hold the racist notion that black women are only good in track and field, boxing and basketball?"
She ended by saying:
"Or are they just afraid that black women would dominate in ice hockey and steal the thunder from their white darlings the same way that the Williams Sisters did in tennis?"