The way the Switzerland women's hockey team was euphorically celebrating their victory, and the way the Swedes were crestfallen in defeat, you would have thought that the two teams were playing in the Olympic gold medal game.

In a way, they were.

The Canadians and Americans are so dominant in the sport that the bronze medal, which Switzerland earned with the 4-3 victory on Thursday, is pretty much considered the championship of the rest of the world. There has been a lot of talk in Sochi about the lack of parity in women's hockey. The two North American powers have played for the gold medal in four of the five Winter Olympics, leading some to opine that it was time for the sport to be dropped from the games.

But the IOC has been firmly in the sport's corner, and Switzerland's wild celebration of the bronze showed that the rest of the field can still have a great time, even if they're only playing for third place.

As the final horn sounded, the red-shirted Swiss stormed the ice and piled onto one another like a baseball team winning the World Series. Some mimicked making snow angels on the ice, goalie Florence Schelling leaped into her teammates' arms and they all gathered for a big group photo.

On the other side, the Swedes were devastated. Anna Borgqvist was frozen on the bench while he hanged her head and Valentina Wallner was shedding tears as she skated off the ice.

— By Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski


Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu