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Category: women's hockey

Speaking out: The puck stops with IOC President Rogge if women's hockey is to grow

I am an enormous fan of women's sports. And that includes non-Olympic women's sports, such as the Northwestern women's lacrosse team, whose success has turned into my favorite story of the last five years.

I have railed at the International Olympic Committee for not allowing female ski jumpers to compete at the 2010 Olympics, for allowing women's softball to be dumped from the Olympic program, for its staggeringly poor representation of women among its own membership (barely 15%), for having just one woman on its 15-member executive board, for allowing international sports federations to have an even more dismal record on women in leadership positions.

Having established, I hope, my bona fides as a relentless backer of more opportunities for women as athletes and sports leaders, I am going to take what may seem an incongruous position.

I agree with IOC President Jacques Rogge's feeling that unless the level of women's hockey outside Canada and the United States improves, the sport has no future in the Olympics.

Where Rogge and I differ, though, is he would put all the burden for that improvement on individual nations and the International Ice Hockey Federation, while I say the burden is on the IOC. Otherwise, the IOC's professed goal of gender equity in the Olympics will ring hollow.

That IOC posture of fobbing off responsibility led to its shameful failure to prevent the International Luge Federation from issuing a half-baked report blaming Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili's "driver error" for the accident that led to his death.

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