Crashing the Net: The U.S. Women's Olympic Ice Hockey Team and the Road to Gold

Mary Turco, Author, Mary Turco, Preface by, Mary Turco, Epilogue by
Mary Turco, Author, Mary Turco, Preface by, Mary Turco, Epilogue by HarperCollins Publishers $24 (242p) ISBN 978-0-06-019264-8
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-06-092981-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-21382-0
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Arguably the most thrilling moment of the 1998 Nagano Olympics came when the U.S women's ice hockey team beat the odds and the Canadians for the sport's first-ever Olympic gold medal. The victory not only struck a blow for women's sport but also conveyed the value of discipline, especially in light of the lackluster showing of the U.S. men's team. Turco, who teaches women's studies at Dartmouth, tracked the team from a warm-up victory over Canada to the crying and flag-draping after the final buzzer in Nagano, and she sets out to show how ""if you set goals and work hard, you can break barriers, smash stereotypes, rewrite traditions and succeed."" She doesn't go much beyond boosterism, however. No individual portraits stand out and, in addition to bland reportage, the book is marred by a patronizing, do-no-wrong tone (""Sandra's passion was deep-seated. She was a scholar-athlete who had set aside personal plans to play for her country... to open doors for younger girls""). More glaringly, while Turco exhibits enough social conscience to note how, at the high-school level, male players tried to sabotage a female player, she exhibits little awareness of class issues--most of the U.S. players went to elite colleges, a fact Turco all but ignores. A heartfelt section about players about to be dropped is interesting, but it's too little, too late. Though well-constructed and easily digested, this report contains all the sizzle of a weak wrist shot. (Apr.)
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