"The More Things Change, the More They...": Commentary During Women's Ice Hockey at the 2010 Olympic Games

Kelly Poniatowski, Elizabethtown College
Marie Hardin, Pennsylvania State University


This research uses textual analysis rooted in cultural studies to investigate how commentary constructed women hockey players during the 2010 Olympics, one of the biggest mediated sporting events in the world. Games were aired on NBC's cable affiliates during non-prime-time hours, a departure from previous Olympic studies. Hockey is a sport that is traditionally violent, and women are often viewed as intruders to this male world, breaking up male hegemony. Results indicate that women have both male and female role models, are compared to both their male counterparts, succeed after having played on North American college teams, and gain entry into the sport through boys' teams. Despite the positive finding of women as role models, commentators never define the heroine. The other traditional presentations of women are set against the backdrop of progress for women's sports also framed as reliant on men's sports, reflecting a strategy of ambivalence that marginalizes the female athlete and reinforces sexual difference. © 2012 Copyright Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.