'My emotions got the better of me': Jocelyne Larocque apologizes for taking off silver medal
Ste. Anne, Man. D-liner removed medal but held it in in her hand
A Canadian Olympian has apologized after taking off her silver medal during the medal ceremony following the women's hockey team's shootout loss to their U.S. rivals.
"I want to apologize," Jocelyne Larocque said in a statement released Friday from the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea. "In the moment, I was disappointed with the outcome of the game, and my emotions got the better of me. I meant no disrespect – it has been an honour to represent my country and win a medal for Canada."
The Ste. Anne, Man. defenceman said she takes being a role model to young girls and hockey fans seriously, and that she was proud of her team's efforts.
"My actions did not demonstrate the values our team, myself and my family live and for that I am truly sorry," she said.
#canadianwomenshockey what a classy bunch of girls to stand with your silver medal around your neck and showed pride for our country...except for #jocelyneLarocque that was shameful to our girls and the way you played tonight you didn't deserve to stand with our team
Was Canada's Jocelyne Larocque rude for yanking off her silver medal? No, she's a competitor. https://t.co/BpvQjjcIsu
The Olympic women's team general manager said Larocque did not mean to be disrespectful.
"She is very remorseful and takes responsibility for her error," said Melody Davidson in the statement. "Emotions run high at the Olympic Games, and never more so than in a gold-medal game, but at all times we expect our program to act professionally and demonstrate sound sportsmanship."
Davidson also congratulated the United States on their gold.
Uncle wants people to be fair
The player took some heat online for her actions but her uncle, Norm Larocque, said the criticism wasn't completely fair.
"At that point, when you know, you're completely exhausted, emotionally exhausted, it's not what she wanted around her neck," he told CBC's Up To Speed on Thursday.
Larocque at that point hadn't spoken to his niece since the outcome — Thursday afternoon in Manitoba was still the very early morning in Pyeongchang, South Korea — but said knowing her, she didn't mean to cause a stir.
"I'm sure that she's probably going to apologize for doing that if it offended everybody," he said. "I'm 100 per cent positive she didn't want to offend anybody by doing that. It was just an emotional reaction, I'm 100 per cent sure of that," he said.
"I probably think that Jocelyne was more disappointed for [fellow Ste. Anne, Man. player] Bailey [Bram] not getting the gold than that she had silver."
Jocelyne has had to deal with defeat at the hands of the Americans' hands at different world competitions, her uncle says.
"She didn't refuse the medal. She put it around her neck and when they left, took it off and held it in her hand. So I don't know, maybe that goes against Olympic rules and she wasn't aware of it, or was too emotional at the time."
Jocelyne Larocque taking the sliver medal off isn’t the right thing to do on the surface but to cast judgment on a player who just lost a gold medal game is silly It was a raw emotional reaction. In six months she will likely appreciate the medal more. I respect the honesty.
Meanwhile, other fans took to Twitter after the outcome to congratulate Larocque for wearing her heart on her sleeve.
No, #JocelyneLarocque shouldn’t have taken off her silver medal. But she’s not a disgrace to @TeamCanada. Expecting AMATEUR athletes to be poised in crushing defeat after sacrificing so much is absurd. If she was an NHLer getting paid millions, that’s different. I feel for her.
In her own words ."Just hard," she said. "We were going for gold."Was the silver medal any consolation?"I mean, yeah," she said. "Once we reflect. But now, not at the moment." I can relate, it hurts to lose after working so hard #heartbreaker #JocelyneLarocque #heatofthemoment
This certainly isn't the first time an emotional reaction has led to medal drama.
Full statement from Jocelyne Larocque:
"I want to apologize to the IOC, IIHF, the PyeongChang Olympic Organizing Committee, Canadian Olympic Committee, Hockey Canada and most especially to my teammates and our fans for removing my silver medal after it was presented to me. In the moment, I was disappointed with the outcome of the game, and my emotions got the better of me. I meant no disrespect — it has been an honour to represent my country and win a medal for Canada. I'm proud of our team, and proud to be counted among the Canadian athletes who have won medals at these Games. Being on the podium at the world's biggest sporting event is a great achievement and one that I'm thankful I was able to experience with my teammates. For all fans, young and old, please understand this was a moment in time that I truly wish I could take back. I take seriously being a role model to young girls and representing our country. My actions did not demonstrate the values our team, myself and my family live and for that I am truly sorry."