U.S. Women's Hockey Team Wins First Olympic Gold Since '98 After Besting Canadian Rivals in ShootoutThu Feb 22 02:16:49 EST 2018
Emerging triumphant from a down-to-the-wire victory Thursday afternoon in the Winter Olympic tournament final, against their longtime Canadian rivals, the U.S. women’s hockey team fielded questions from the press while looking basically as exhilarated and joyful as could be expected from such a win.
Occasionally while one of them was giving an answer, a big smile would break across their face.
“I hope women’s hockey grows, I hope it explodes in the next few years,” Team USA hockey forward Hilary Knight told reporters. “That’s obviously one of our goals when we’re off the ice is to grow and promote the game and try and inspire the next generation as best we can and build a future for them even better than what was before.”
The gold medal game, in Gangneung, South Korea, (which aired early Thursday morning stateside) was the latest installment in the recurring rivalry for first place between the American women and their northern neighbors.
Since women’s ice hockey was introduced at the Olympics in 1998, the two teams have played each other for the gold in five of those six Games. Until Thursday, the U.S. had come up short in all but the first, including back-to-back losses in 2010 and 2014.
The 2018 win came at at the very last possible moment, after Canada overtook the U.S.’s 1-0 lead with two goals before a successful late-game shot by the U.S. sent them into overtime.
A shootout followed that scoreless extra period and the U.S. ultimately came out on top, 3-2, thanks to a successful fake-out shot from forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson.
Goalie Maddie Rooney then blocked the Canadians’ last shot in the shootout, clinching the win.
“To be able to come away with a win, to win from behind like we did, is something special,” said Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Jocelyne’s twin sister and her fellow forward. “We played this game in our minds a thousand times and won it every single way possible, and there’s just something unbelievable with this team.”
“We just knew we were going to get it done,” she said, “and so proud of everybody on this team and it’s indescribable how happy it is to be an Olympic champion. It’s a title that no one can take away from us.”
Forward Gigi Marvin put it this way: “Our opponent is never the other team we’re facing, it’s always the doubt, and I think the bigger thing is just the doubt and the fear. And so we were able to push everything away — up 1-nothing, then give up two goals, tie it, then we’re in a shootout.
“How many opportunities do you have to mentally just kind of cave? And we didn’t. We just crushed the fear and crushed the doubt and just trusted in what was to come.”
The team did not second guess that this moment would come, many of them said, but now that it was here they were indulging in it, the first Olympic gold for American women’s hockey in 20 years.
“We’re so resilient, we have such an amazing group,” Marvin, 30, said after the win. “And you know, it didn’t matter if you’re a veteran and three-time Olympian or if you’re a rookie — I mean, holy cow, Maddie Rooney unbelievable in the nets, it really doesn’t matter. We had so much faith and trust in her.”
The same was true, Marvin said, of the team’s belief in Jocelyne, 28, who explained to reporters how that last penalty shot was one she had practiced thousands of times.
A coach had nicknamed it “Oops, I did it again,” after the Britney Spears song, she said.
“I’m digging the new necklace we got today and going to keep it on for a while, then I’ll find a safe spot at home,” Jocelyne jokingly told PEOPLE of the victory.
Almost to a person the U.S. players agreed that they had no misgivings that this game would come down in their favor.
“There was no doubt at all,” forward Dani Cameranesi tells PEOPLE. “We knew this was the team to do it and no one’s done it in 20 years, and we knew that inside that locker room we had everything that we needed.”
The afternoon before they took the ice for their final game, said Cameranesi, 22, the team spoke with Cammi Granato, the captain of the gold-winning women’s Olympic team in ’98.
She told them the same thing those players then told the media, Cameranesi recalled: “We had everything that we needed in this room, we didn’t need to do anything special, we’ve been playing this game our entire lives.”
At the Games four years ago, in Sochi, Russia, the U.S. women lost 3-2 to Canada in overtime. That disappointment, the team has said, was turned into fuel.
“It’s no secret that we came up short of our ultimate goal,” captain Meghan Duggan told PEOPLE in the fall, prior to heading to Korea. “While it was both incredible experience and really proud to be there, I think we said to a lot of people, ‘We don’t train that hard for second place.’ And that’s just our mentality — it’s gold or bust going into this one for us. We’re excited, we’re prepared. This is the group and it’s going to be an incredible journey.”
“For our players, I am so happy they get to experience something different,” Robb Stauber, the team’s head coach, said after Thursday’s win. “We had some trying times this year. You learn how to transform yourself, how you think about and perform the game. This is probably a classic example of how hard it should be to win a gold medal.”
A win at the Olympics this year was not just a win, however:
As Knight said later, it “transcended our sport specifically.” Last March, the team took the national spotlight when they said they were going to boycott the IIHF World Championship unless they received wage increases and greater support from USA Hockey, more in line with what was dedicated for the men’s national team.
Within weeks, they had struck a new deal giving them just that, according to media reports, though details of the agreement were not released to the public.
Knight, 27, told PEOPLE in the fall that the stance was necessary, calling it a “cause that’s bigger than ourselves.”
Duggan echoed that at the time, saying, “I think as powerful female athletes it was important to us at that point to really make the stand that we did.”
Flash-forward nearly 12 months and, as her team looked toward their Olympic rematch with Canada, Knight said she was still taking it all in.
“I keep sort of pinching myself,” she said earlier this week. “I mean, this is my third time going to a gold-medal game, a lot of our third times. That’s a dream come true.”
RELATED VIDEO: Kids Interview the 2018 Winter Olympic Athletes
Speaking to reporters after their victory, Knight put what they had accomplished in the context of the wage inequality they spoke out about and pushed to change.
All around was talk of the past. But there was something else to look forward to.
“We weren’t receiving the right support of a gold-medal-winning team and this is what a gold-medal-winning team looks like with the right support,” Knight said. “We’re taking steps in the right direction, but there’s still a long ways to go. But I hope that we’ve inspired other people in their own industries to do the same thing and that we continue to grow for the next generation.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.
Thu Feb 22 01:57:56 EST 2018
During a chat with Ellen DeGeneres on her daytime talk show, airing Thursday, the A Wrinkle in Time star, 64, said her initial reaction to the tweet was confusion.
“I woke up and I just thought,” Winfrey says as she raises her hands in the air and shrugs. “I don’t like giving negativity power, so I just thought, ‘What?'”
On Sunday, 60 Minutes aired Winfrey’s segment that featured a diverse group of voters from Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a discussion with 14 pro- and anti-Trump voters.
“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect,” Trump tweeted the same day the segment aired, also alluding to the rumors of her 2020 presidential bid. “Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!” the commander-in-chief said.
After reading Trump’s tweet, Winfrey, in fact, double-checked her 60 Minutes segment to see if his remark had any validity.
“What I actually really did was I went back and looked at the tape to see if there was any place that, that could be true,” she admits to DeGeneres who asks if she agreed with Trump’s “slanted or biased” claims.
Oprah clarifies: “I went back and looked at every tape, I called the producers. Because what actually happened was when you do 60 Minutes, you sit in a room with at least seven other people who critique the piece before you air it, before you do the introduction to it, and then they give you the critique. So, they critique every word and is this fair – you have this whole panel of people looking at whether it was fair.”
Indeed, when she watched her interview the first time she found something could be fixed to make it better.
“I had actually, the first time I saw it, I said there’s something missing here from the conversation,” Winfrey reveals. “When I had asked the question of ‘Do you think, do you care about what other people think about America?’ and they only used the Democratic side. And I said, I remembered the guy Matt had said, ‘No, we’re the only people that are worried what other countries are thinking of us.’ And I said, ‘I think you should go back and put that in because it makes it more balanced.’ ”
Through edits and revisions, Winfrey believes she delivered the correct facts.
“I was working very hard to do the opposite of what I was hate tweeted about so, it’s okay,” she shares.
WATCH: Donald Trump Lashes Out at ‘Insecure’ Oprah Winfrey for 60 Minutes Segment on His Presidency
After her impassioned Golden Globes speech in January — which left fans speculating whether she would run for president — Winfrey has repeatedly said she’s not planning a White House run.
During a recent live-taping of her podcast SuperSoul Sunday, Winfrey was chatting with Lin-Manuel Miranda when she confirmed for the first time since the Globes that she has no plans to vie for office. After Miranda stated that he is not going into politics, Winfrey replied, “I’m not either.”
Thu Feb 22 01:48:37 EST 2018
The Frozen actor, 36, tweeted about his friend Max after the latter appeared on CNN’s televised town hall on Wednesday night to read the poem his 14-year-old son penned two weeks before his death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Gad tweeted, “Watching our family friend #maxschachter read his son Alex’s poem tonight is almost too much for me to bear. Max, we are all with you. We love you. Your strength is incredible. Your son’s poetry is light in this darkness. #alexschachter”
Alex’s poem was written as a free verse and went as follows, “Life is like a roller coaster/it has some ups and down/sometimes you can take it slow or very fast/ it may be hard to breathe at times/but you have to push yourself and keep going.”
“Your bar is your safety/it’s like your family and friends/You hold on tight and you don’t let go/But sometimes you might throw your hands up/Because your friends and family will always be with you,” Alex’s poem continued.
“Just like that bar keeping you safe at all times/ it may be too much for you at times/the twists, the turns, the upside downs/But you get back up/you keep chugging along/ eventually it comes to a stop/you won’t know when or how/but you will know that’ll be the time to get off and start anew/Life is like a roller coaster.”
Last week, Gad expressed his grief for Alex’s death on Twitter, writing that he was “angry” and “sad” as he called for stricter gun laws.
“I am so angry tonight. I am so sad. I’m putting my phone down because we are debating sensible gun laws again,” he tweeted last week. “A child of one of our friend’s has a bullet in his chest & is critical condition because a 19 year old had access to a military weapon. Pretend it’s normal. It’s not.”
The next morning, he revealed that Alex had passed away from his injuries.
“Last night, I received a text while I slept that our friend’s son passed away from his gun shot wound. My grief for this family and the many others knows no bounds. I’m so sorry this happened,” he tweeted.
Gad then called out political leaders for their lack of action when it comes to gun control.
RELATED VIDEO: 17 Killed in Florida High School Mass Shooting
“I’m so sorry our leaders are worthless,” he continued. “I’m so sorry we are bound to repeat this again.”
The shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland around dismissal time. Seventeen students and educators were allegedly killed by a 19-year-old former student.
On Wednesday night, several students and parents of those killed in the mass shooting attended the town hall to speak to their representatives about gun reform.