For Jocelyne Larocque, there’s no silver lining to finishing runner-up.
In 2014 at the Sochi Games, the Canadian hockey star knew what it was like to wear gold after her team made a seemingly insurmountable two-goal comeback with just minutes left to stun the U.S. 3-2 in overtime of the title game.
On Thursday in Pyeongchang, Larocque experienced the other side of competition as Canada fell 3-2 to Team USA in an epic shootout, ending a 20-year reign on the gold medal for Canada.
When it came time to receive her silver medal, a disappointed Larocque didn’t want any part of it. As soon as the Olympic official placed the medal around her neck, she promptly removed the second-place hardware.
Little did Larocque know that the Olympics has no return policy — you win it, you wear it.
Larocque reportedly left the ice to Americans chanting, “put your medal on,” but remained steadfast in her protest.
In a hallway leading to the locker room, an Olympic hockey official approached her.
From The Globe and Mail:
Few people witnessed it, but there was Larocque, tears welling up in her eyes, holding her unwanted silver medal, being told by a man in a suit about the “legal” reasons why she can’t refuse to wear it.
This was the Olympics, the official from the International Ice Hockey Federation explained. It doesn’t matter how sad you are. Or how angry, or disappointed. There are rules.
Larocque nodded and stared at the floor. The IIHF official strode quickly out of the room and disappeared.
This wouldn’t be the first time an Olympic athlete refused a medal. In 1972 after a controversial loss to Russia in the finals, the U.S. men’s basketball team refused to collect their silver medals — and still haven’t.
When Larocque was asked about her refusal to wear the medal, she said: “[It’s] just hard. We were going for gold.”
Was silver any consolation? “I mean, yeah. Once we reflect. But now, not at the moment.”
The Globe and Mail said it was unclear if Larocque ever put the medal on after speaking with the official.