Maybe the play wasn't quite up to the standard of the men's game, and maybe the two teams vying for the gold medal were each other's only real competition, but women's ice hockey has arrived. For millions of viewers in the US and Canada, this week's final game will live on as the high point of the Nagano Winter Olympics.
And there's little doubt that countless young women, surveying their sports options, will add another game to their lists. Hockey has always been considered a sport for men, complete with helmets, pads, body checks, and - disappointingly - frequent fights. The Olympic women displayed a game that still had the speed, quickness, and excitement, but not the intentional hits. (The women did, however, have collisions, spills, and, unfortunately, some verbal combat.)
Congratulations to the American winners and the Canadian runners-up. Next Olympics, we're sure, the competition will be even hotter, and the contenders more numerous.