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Natalie and Meaghan: Canadian Golden Girls

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BTW, it was James Duthie who first called them 'The Golden Girls'.

 

I want to start this thread with an appreciation to Meaghan Mikkelson. We all know that she broke her hand sometime in Sochi that she played the Final game with a broken hand. It must have been rather serious that she was unable to shake Dick Pound's hand when he gave her the gold medal. What we did not know was the extent of the injury.

 

Before the Winnipeg episode, Mikk posted on her Twitter the x-ray photo of her injury. I cringed when I saw that photo. We also know now that she broke that hand 4 days before the Final game. And yet, on the Final game Mikk booked 21:44 minutes TOI and one assist. With that broken hand. I think it is just nothing short of amazing...

Edited by TV Anonymous
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Moved from the S02 E08 thread

I have thought a bit about the advantage that Meaghan and Nat might have, and how it might be unfair. They have spent a lot of time together preparing for competition at a high level, both from a teamwork and psychological standpoint (sports psychology is big with the hockey team, from what I understand), as well as physically. But siblings spend a lot of time together, TWINS spend a lot of time together... Business partners would be together a lot, preparing for competition and strategy...And there have been many other fit pairs to participate in the race.

Calling their hockey careers "professional" is certainly generous to them, but they are not able to support themselves playing their sport. When it comes down to it, they're just capable racers who work well under pressure together.

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Calling their hockey careers "professional" is certainly generous to them, but they are not able to support themselves playing their sport. When it comes down to it, they're just capable racers who work well under pressure together.

I totally agree. While it would be nice to see other teams finish first, that is sort of the fault of the other teams for not being as good. To me the fact that they are excelling on the challenges that have nothing to do with hockey, and aren't really even all that athletic tells me everything I need to know. I mean they kicked ass at challenges like on the mentos challenge, the gambling challenge in Macau, and the Bayeux Tapestry challenge. The fact that they rocked those shows that they are just a really competent team, not that being elite athletes is the only thing allowing them to win (or any huge advantage). The fact that they totally choked at the hockey challenge confirmed that to me.

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Yeah, I see your points and I do get that they don't necessarily have real advantages over the other teams, I was saying that because of their success in the Race so far, the perception on the part of the other teams might be that they do. When people lose, they often like to look for justification for why they lost.

And, I was careful to include them in a broader category of pro / career athletes that encompasses all the TAR US teams that fit that description, knowing that there isn't a lot of money in their sport, but they are very dedicated to it.

I hope that doesn't sound too defensive, just offering clarification.

Edited by beedub
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As opposed to incompetent with dull personalities, i.e. Ryan and Rob?

 

The people I know who watch the Race are all pulling for Nat and Meg. Seeing people who are national heroes - and make no mistake, that's exactly what the women's hockey team is to us after what they did this year - in a more personal setting is very compelling viewing.

On a personal level, I've enjoyed watching how Meg overcomes obstacles, compared to Nat. Nat is what you think of when you think of a jock - she just charges at problems, and acts like she's invulnerable. Meg acknowledges her limitations, but does what needs to be done anyways because it's the best plan to overcome the challenges she faces. Think about the bungee jump: she says she's scared, but she doesn't hesitate to jump because the only way she can get what she wants is to jump. I can understand someone like that coming back from behind to beat the Americans: she knows she's down, but she keeps following the game plan, plays as hard as possible up until the end, and doesn't get rattled, because the only way to win is to execute the plan with the best odds and not quit. I love watching how she thinks, because it's not something you see very often, especially in male-dominated athletics where to acknowledge limitations is typically seen as weakness.

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There is a status given by IIHF for male hockey players who won the Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold Medal and World Championship Gold Medal. It is called the Triple Gold Club. It is a very prestigious and exclusive group of players, today there are only 7 active players in the world are members.

 

I just realized that should such recognition existed in women's hockey, Spooner would be a member. She won 2012 World Women's Championship gold medal, 2014 Olympic gold medal and 2014 Clarkson Cup with Toronto Furies. I know that Clarkson Cup is nothing compared to the Stanley Cup, but still it is the top award for club women's hockey in North America.

Edited by TV Anonymous
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I don't know them by name either, but I am guessing that when they were having their meltdown over the dancing task in Macau, the mean one is the one who refused to listen to her partner continually insisting that she would learn by watching, and just needed to watch the dance once again.

 

 

 

I can finally tell who is who in the Hockey team by the simple mnemonic; Natalie is nice, Meghan is mean (but not always, as her slow dawning realisation of Audrey's engagement ring and subsequent excitement was the highlight of the episode).

 

Spooner the ebullient Englishwoman and Mikkelson the dour Dane both rock my world.

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high morality speech form the hockey players

Indeed. Coming from two women who 'won' their gold by playing the only other team in the world who could compete. Again.  

My opinion-until lots of countries have teams, it shouldn't be an Olympic sport.

 

I don't care for the hockey girls, and I had no idea their 'hockey' names were spoons and whatever. They annoy me to no end. And for the record, black eyeliner does not a personality make.

 

I would love for Audrey and Alain to win, or the Muskoka boys. Hell, I'll even settle for a Ryan and Rob win. Anyone but the girls. Blech.

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The eyeliner is ridiculous - Natalie wears thick eyeliner while playing, too. I never understood women who wear makeup while playing a sport (particularly one where the players wear helmets) but hers is honestly just over the top.

 

I wouldn't mind Audrey and Alain winning as they seem to be genuinely fun people. If the hockey women win, I'm sure we'll never hear the end of the whining from people who feel they have an advantage as "professional" athletes.

 

Lots of countries have women's hockey teams, there is qualifying for the Olympic tournament (which the Canadian team won).

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While I'm not a fan of the hockey gals within this show - they are bland and one of them has the flattest monotone voice that is like nails on a chalkboard, plus I think it makes for a dull show when one team wins most of the time - I have no issue with their Olympic medals.

They won them fair and square. Even if there is only one true competitor, that's one more than the US men's basketball team had in the Olympics. Are people suggesting the Olympics drop men's basketball? And there's no reason Sweden, Norway and Russia can't fund and field a decent women's hockey team if they wanted to. It's not Canada's fault if other countries don't try.

But I digress. I wonder if the heavy eye makeup is to make the statement that just because they're playing a "man's game", they're still feminine?

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The heavy eyeliner could simply be because of Natalie's young age. She's only in her early 20s and I notice that a lot of young women around college age tend to go overboard on eyeliner. That being said, it doesn't bother me one iota.

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They won them fair and square. Even if there is only one true competitor, that's one more than the US men's basketball team had in the Olympics. Are people suggesting the Olympics drop men's basketball?

 

Well, yeah. For the same reason. When it's a foregone conclusion who will win, because no one can compete, it's no longer a fair and level playing field; in my opinion, those sports aren't real, in the Olympic sense. If those guys who won the gold in basketball wear it proudly, that's just ludicrous to me. Just like women's hockey. That being said, I don't think the girls have that much of an advantage just because they played hockey together. They keep winning because they  remain focused, don't lose their heads, and keep their tempers in check. I just find them about as exciting as watching paint dry.

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I think what adds to at least my impression of the hockey players being as dull as dishwater is that they insist on dressing alike. Always red jackets with varying colours of matching pants. Jeez, even the twins didn't dress like twins.

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When it's a foregone conclusion who will win, because no one can compete, it's no longer a fair and level playing field; in my opinion

My response to this is the same one I have whenever other shows complain about TAR always winning the Emmy: If you want to win, get better! There is absolutely nothing preventing other countries from investing more money in their teams, doing more training, scouting better players, etc. A country/team/tv show should never have to worry about being too good simply because others aren't.

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I think what adds to at least my impression of the hockey players being as dull as dishwater is that they insist on dressing alike. Always red jackets with varying colours of matching pants. Jeez, even the twins didn't dress like twins.

I smell producer intervention in how they've been dressing.  It seems likely to me that the producers asked them to milk their Canadian Olympic athlete status, but without being overt, and the clear way to do that is to wear a lot of red (often with white piping) in some kind of tracksuity fashion.

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I might buy producer intervention where the jackets are concerned, (which is the only thing they wear that is red - or a red tshirt) but that would be absolutely no reason to also wear matching leggings. Brown. Black and white zebra type print. Whatever. Every. Single. Episode.

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think N&M have a bigger stakes in this game than just winning. They are active, carded, Team Canada athletes. They have, or are seeking, sponsorship deals. They are representing women's hockey to the general public. Winning the show is almost secondary...ALMOST.

 

There is a big risks with doing a show like this to 'build your brand", especially when you have no control over edits or what the tasks may be .(ex: BodyBreak from last year and the f-bomb).  Bombing the hockey challenge did nothing to promote women's hockey. 

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I am certain that the leggings are Team Canada gear. (Saw olympic athlete in my town wearing them). I don't know if TPTB wanted them to wear their olympic kit, if they did, or if the canada olympic committee wanted them too. I know that national team athletes have to wear team outfits when travelling.

Edited by Sarahendipity
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There is a big risks with doing a show like this to 'build your brand", especially when you have no control over edits or what the tasks may be .(ex: BodyBreak from last year and the f-bomb).  Bombing the hockey challenge did nothing to promote women's hockey. 

 

Agreed on both counts. I'm sure ultimately they signed up because they thought it'd be a lot of fun and they had a good chance of winning (both of which are true).

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I like that they are competent but my god, they have dull personalities.

 

I still recall Nat and Kat who won TAR US Season 17.  They were also very calm and focused and not necessarily the most exciting team to watch.  I think that the teams who are able to do that fare better in the race because the emotions don't take over.  I think that their Olympic training and experience are a huge asset in this area and that's why they've been so successful this season.

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I am certain that the leggings are Team Canada gear. (Saw olympic athlete in my town wearing them). I don't know if TPTB wanted them to wear their olympic kit, if they did, or if the canada olympic committee wanted them too. I know that national team athletes have to wear team outfits when travelling.

Sorry, didn't mean to imply the leggings weren't Team Canada gear. They are certainly ugly enough to be. My point was the jackets are what defines them as TC - they could display some individuality and not wear matching leggings every epi as well. But then it fits in with their lack of personalities so not a surprise.

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Sorry, didn't mean to imply the leggings weren't Team Canada gear. They are certainly ugly enough to be. My point was the jackets are what defines them as TC - they could display some individuality and not wear matching leggings every epi as well. But then it fits in with their lack of personalities so not a surprise.

Don't the producers usually push teams to adopt a certain colour so that they are easy to identify on camera? I swear I read that somewhere for the regular TAR. I mean Alain and Audrey are always in black/grey. Cormac and Nicole were always in blue. It makes sense that olympians would always be in red and white. Don't really have an explanation about the leggings though.

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I would think that it is Adidas that compels them to wear whatever they are wearing. The t-shirt and the jacket are the ones of Team Canada and Adidas did push them hard during Sochi. My question is then - just like Sarahendipity above - whether Adidas sponsor them personally, or through COC - Adidas is an official sponsor with that exact line, or through TPTB.

 

Regarding building their brand, I do feel like Meaghan Mikkelson is preparing herself for life outside hockey. She is one the most media-exposed athletes in Canadian Women's Hockey Team. Well, if not the most one. She did the commercials with Sport Chek (Mother's Day and Father's Day) that TSN played over and over and over before the Olympics, she did the sexy spread with Sportsnet Magazine and now this. The fact that she has pretty face and hot smoking body does not hurt either.

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Regarding the teams dressing alike, most of them don't. I do remember the mom and son being in blue, and possibly the sibs (would have to go back and replay even this past week but don't have time). None of the other teams do, including Alain and Audrey. They may have now and again but since there are many times they didn't I would assume that was just coincidence. In the Poobah epi he wore grey and she wore purple. And Team Dude, Rob and Ryan, even the twins - nope, they do/did not dress in similar colours.

Edited by UsernameFatigue

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Regarding the teams dressing alike, most of them don't. I do remember the mom and son being in blue, and possibly the sibs (would have to go back and replay even this past week but don't have time). None of the other teams do, including Alain and Audrey. They may have now and again but since there are many times they didn't I would assume that was just coincidence. In the Poobah epi he wore grey and she wore purple. And Team Dude, Rob and Ryan, even the twins - nope, they do/did not dress in similar colours.

This goes back more to TAR US than other teams on TAR Can.  But I think overall the teams we usually see dressed alike are the "themed" teams, where there's a professional tie.  Or where the team or the producers drag out some common tie, like "oh, we're both going to wear pink shirts for breast cancer awareness".  Stuff like that.  Sometimes the teams themselves decide to do it, but if the producers see an advantage in it, I'm sure they stick their noses in and make a heavy-handed suggestion or two.

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Regarding the teams dressing alike, most of them don't.

 

I beg to differ. Most of the other teams do. As others have said it's a team identification thing and makes it easier for the viewers to identify.

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I like that they are competent but my god, they have dull personalities.

I mentioned this in this week's episode thread, but when the most interesting thing they've said is "I love candy!"/"Spooner loves candy!", then they're probably not a very interesting team. It doesn't help that when Meghan does show personality it tends to be a bit abrasive. I think in real life it's probably more just that she's tough and focused, but it comes off more harshly on the show.

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I said it on the episode thread as well, but I actually think Meaghan and Natalie not being first lately has made me like them more.  I only started liking Natalie last episode when I noticed she consistently has a pretty good attitude even when losing and when Meaghan is being negative towards her.  For example, when she offered to try Meaghan's grilled cheese last week when Meaghan said she can't remember anything.  And also when she reassured Meagan not to stress after leaving the Confederation task last.

 

Meaghan is probably more approachable than she comes off, since Audrey chose to tell her about the engagement first.   The sour expressions both times when Rob and Ryan showed up the next leg were understandable (since another non-elimination was gone) but it just doesn't come off as very good-natured.  Which is okay since it's a competition.

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I beg to differ. Most of the other teams do. As others have said it's a team identification thing and makes it easier for the viewers to identify.

Are you referring to TAR or TARC? I do not watch TAR but most teams in at least this season of TARC do not dress alike. And if the reason were an ID thing, why would it not be all, as opposed to most? Wouldn't it be a requirement of the show as opposed to a personal preference?

 

Rob and Ryan never dress alike, nor do Team Dude. Rex and Bob didn't. Sukhi and Jinder don't. They sometimes both wear blue jackets but they look nothing alike - Sukhi's is a puffy baby blue jacket, Jinder's more of a sport type darker blue, and they wear different coloured t-shirts underneath. Audrey and Alain sometimes wore matching grey hoodie type jackets but different tops underneath. The twins sometimes dressed alike, other times not. The only team that ALWAYS dresses identical is Nutmeg. So as far as averages go, most teams in TARC at least this season do not dress alike - or even close to alike.

Edited by UsernameFatigue

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On the US version of TAR, did they use to wear matching bandanas?  I vaguely remember something like that.  The team members are always color-coordinated in the official photo shoots for TAR and even TAR Canada.  But I was looking through the last episode and many of the teams were not colour-coordinated on a regular leg.  Ryan and Rob did both wear red on one leg though.  Even Meg and Meaghan sometimes wore different colored track suits.

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On the TARC website none of the teams are matching either except for Nutmeg. The twins are both wearing leather jackets but not sure if it is the same jacket. Some are wearing similar colours but not the same clothing. The lesbian couple, the dudes and the female best friends aren't coloured co-ordinated at all.  So apparently it was a personal choice.  The oldest epi I still have on PVR is the 5th (Yukon) and teams were as I posted above with regards to colours. Which is why it has stood out to me for weeks now that only Nutmeg dress like twins. I don't ever recall them wearing different colours? The jackets are always red, may have black t shirts underneath if they don't have them on, and leggings are always the same. Maybe it was earlier than the 5th epi but haven't noticed any differences since then and can't say I did before. Do you remember which epi? Or do you just mean different versions of the colour red for the jacket?

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One jacket looked red and the other looked kind of orange.  I'll have to watch out for this next episode.  It's funny... maybe my mind sort of associated teammates as dressing/looking alike when actually don't.  

 

 

 

The lesbian couple, the dudes and the female best friends aren't coloured co-ordinated at all. 

 

In the promotional photos, both Laura and Jackie of the lesbian couple had purple neckties.  The female best friends are wearing the same toque.  I concur about the dudes, though the yellow kind of stands out from the guy's T-shirt on the right and the wrist-bracelet on the left.  Aside from the dudes, even minor similarities add to a color symmetry for each team's promotional shot.  Which makes sense since those photos are composed.

Edited by Camera One

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I'm not sure about the whole matching clothes thing. I know that on the U.S. version of AR teams tend to have the same bags/jackets, but their clothes are usually different. Also, the U.S. AR rarely has female teams with different hair colours. They'll ask women to dye their hair the same colour before they compete. 

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Meaghan is probably more approachable than she comes off, since Audrey chose to tell her about the engagement first.

 

In addition, she lived up to the older sister role by consoling her teammate after the Canadian War Memorial reduced Natalie to tears, which not even Jinder was shown doing to Sukhi (much less Pierre and Michel to one another). 

 

Not to mention that in the last two episodes alone, she was repeatedly blaming herself for costing them leg wins: how many more hidden depths does #12 have to reveal for her naysayers to concede anything?

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I know a few people mentioned in the episode thread that M & N come off as entitled but I'm just not seeing it. In fact, after their first non-1st place finish, they said something to Jon like: "We didn't expect to be in 1st for the entire Race so it's ok." (I'm paraphrasing but it was words to that effect.) That just doesn't reek of entitlement to me.

Edited by Rachel RSL
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What has been happening to Mikk's broken hand? Did she aggravate the injury? In the earlier episodes that hand was bandaged quite prominently. In the middle episodes there were just two tapes taping the pinkie and the ring finger. In later episodes it came back with almost full bandage again. Besides, the race took place in around April and May. Should it not be better after more than 2 months?

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Perhaps some of the challenges exacerbated it? Ideally, you don't use a broken hand much, but if she stressed it before it healed properly, it might have made it worse. I can't think of any specific challenges, but something requiring climbing, grabbing, carrying, pulling?

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I disagree about not letting athletes run the Race. Everyone has some sort of skill set that, at some point, is going to give them an advantage. Mickey & Pete basically won the Race after jumping into 1st place at the rafting task. And Pete just happens to be a rafting guide. Hardly seems fair to the other teams but that's just how the Race works.

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What was the final count of all the *stuff* they won, does anyone know? I didn't keep track on a cumulative basis...

 

I read somewhere that they won a total of $20,000 each and since they won seven legs I would assume they won seven trips which really aren't worth a lot since you could easily spend more than the $20k on those trips. I wonder if the trips can be sold or if the tickets are non-transferable.

 

I was sad they lost not only because they proved themselves to be the best team by far during the race and had such bad luck on the last leg but because they really could have used the money. Women hockey players make peanuts in the few leagues there are for them to play in and they are always scrambling to survive as good jobs are few and far between for women who need time off to play hockey and represent our country.

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I was sad they lost not only because they proved themselves to be the best team by far during the race and had such bad luck on the last leg but because they really could have used the money. Women hockey players make peanuts in the few leagues there are for them to play in and they are always scrambling to survive as good jobs are few and far between for women who need time off to play hockey and represent our country.

Women's hockey players probably do make peanuts, but on the other hand Olympic gold medal winners can probably do fairly well for themselves doing things like public appearances, sponsorship and that sort of thing. When you figure that Natalie and Meaghan are now, that thanks to the show, probably the most recognizable women on the women's national team, that would probably be a big boost.

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Women's hockey players probably do make peanuts, but on the other hand Olympic gold medal winners can probably do fairly well for themselves doing things like public appearances, sponsorship and that sort of thing. When you figure that Natalie and Meaghan are now, that thanks to the show, probably the most recognizable women on the women's national team, that would probably be a big boost.

 

I disagree that most gold medal winners can do fairly well - some of the most prominent can but not very many of them. For the two Olympic cycles before this Hayley Wickenheiser was the big star and most recognizable Cdn hockey player and the only sponsorship I ever saw of hers was the bit she did for Hamburger Helper. I hope this TARC appearance will make Nat and Meg more familiar and bring them some much needed attention and paying jobs.

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I disagree that most gold medal winners can do fairly well - some of the most prominent can but not very many of them. For the two Olympic cycles before this Hayley Wickenheiser was the big star and most recognizable Cdn hockey player and the only sponsorship I ever saw of hers was the bit she did for Hamburger Helper. I hope this TARC appearance will make Nat and Meg more familiar and bring them some much needed attention and paying jobs.

That's the only sponsorship you saw. I am sure there has to be more opportunity for sponsships within her sport. I mean look at other olympians. Michael Phelps makes millions in sponsorships, but you never see that guy in the media. Not saying Natalie and Meaghan are in the same league, but it just shows how you don't need to be visible to the public to make good sponsorship money. Plus there is probably good money to be made doing public speaking engagements and public appearances. I am sure things like making an appearance at say a women's show or being a keynote speaker at a charity event (talking about overcoming adversity and wining a gold medal with a broken hand) can pay decent money.

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The problem is this: Team Sports.

 

Generally only the star of the team, if there is one--the main P.R. focus--gets those endorsement deals or better paid speaking gigs.  Not necessarily the best player, but the one the media has been playing the story for the most--and they're generally not going to focus on more than one per team, or often one for an entire sport.  

 

And it's worse for women's team sports.  You either have to be super-dominant, or a glamour girl, to get a lot of the cash out.  

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The problem is this: Team Sports.

 

Generally only the star of the team, if there is one--the main P.R. focus--gets those endorsement deals or better paid speaking gigs.  Not necessarily the best player, but the one the media has been playing the story for the most--and they're generally not going to focus on more than one per team, or often one for an entire sport.  

 

And it's worse for women's team sports.  You either have to be super-dominant, or a glamour girl, to get a lot of the cash out.  

But if only the star of the team gets endorsements, then you would think that the attractive girls who were prominently featured on a very highly rated Canadian TV show would have a pretty good shot at that kind of thing. Especially Meaghan because she has that overcoming the odds broken hand story. Not saying it will be easy, but she probably has a better shot of turning her medal into cash than most Canadian Olympians.

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But if only the star of the team gets endorsements, then you would think that the attractive girls who were prominently featured on a very highly rated Canadian TV show would have a pretty good shot at that kind of thing. Especially Meaghan because she has that overcoming the odds broken hand story. Not saying it will be easy, but she probably has a better shot of turning her medal into cash than most Canadian Olympians.

Sure now.  AFTER being on this show. But at the time she made the statement about what Olympians get paid she was speaking of her past.

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