The February Olympic issue is now in the mail; arriving this week for subscribers and next week (hopefully) at curling clubs. Why mention that last bit? Clearly you should subscribe... you a) get it faster and b) you get it, period, without gambling on a copy still available at your club.
• Pinerolo preview by Scotland's Mike Haggerty: a European, not Canadian, viewpoint;
• a U.S. University lecturer believes curling is due for more doping scandals;
• Matt Hames on the U.S. Olympic chances;
• a massive full-page TCN TV Curling Guide covering provincials, Olympics, Slam & STOH;
• Doug Maxwell knows the secret to Gushue's success;
• the return of They Said It, an Olympic version;
• a preview of London's 25th anniversary STOH;
• Kerry Burtnyk and his new WCT Ambassador Award;
• the 1924 Olympic kerfuffle;
• David Nedohin talks CurlTV;
• a spotlight on grassroots curling sponsor Investors Group;
• the Prairies fire up the M&M Canadian Juniors;
• Adam Daifallah on the misery of Marie-France Larouche;
• the search for Calendar Girls 2007;
• HOT SHOTS aiming for six fantasy camps in late 2006;
• Billy Bob Thornton has thoughts on curling;
• and some of your favourite Blogstuff: Anette Norberg's heavy-medal Olympic music, the Japanese curling movie, This Hour's hilarious take on the sport... and MORE!
As the Glob & Flail points out today, there's a heckuva lot going on in the curling world. Here's a quick pointer or three from your friendly neighborhood TCN...
• Kevin Martin won the men's Canada Cup over Glenn Howard and Cathy King took the women's crown over JJones. There wasn't just cash and CTRS points for the 2009 Trials spots up for grabs; don't forget TCN told you the Continental Cup is returning this fall, in Chiliwack B.C., and we expect the "other" Cup winners to have spots reserved in that one...
• Disappointment for the 25th anniversary Scott organizers coming out of the last two provinces, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Tracey Streifel of Saskatoon (not Stefanie Lawton) is the wheatsheaf rep, and Krista Scharf (not Jenn Hanna) won Ontario. So who are these gals? Streifel has been around but is clearly not a household name, while Scharf has a bit of a pedigree: she skipped NONT at four national juniors and finished second to Hanna last year, before revamping her team, which now includes Tara George (nee Coulterman) at third and a lead you might recall:
a) living legend
b) 1988 and 1989 STOH and world champion third for Heather Houston
c) wife of Rick
... Lorraine Lang.
This marks the first STOH appearance for a Thunder Bay squad representing Ontario in, well, quite some time... 1992, to be precise.
It took a three-ender coming home for finalist Janet McGhee, who had a great week, to beat ageless Marilyn Bodogh 8-5 in the semi-final. Marilyn had sent defending champ Hanna home early in the 1-2 Page game – on a 10th-end steal – and was almost the story of the week...
• A couple of TV industry stories tell us that CBC aren’t the only guys keeping a pack of staff and equipment at home; it turns out NBC's curling coverage will be beamed out of New Jersey... plus a comment that curling TV stauration is low-risk, like “reality shows or poker on TV”...
• a cute little Pinerolo story... Anette Norberg's metal video is up for a Swedish Grammy award... yet another Rhona Martin feature (for some reason we like this one best)... a lengthy U.S. community feature... news that Smarm-Boy (see previous post) is getting married... another jackass-of-the-week, this time hiding out at Newsday... turns out that Scott Baird, alternate for Team Fenson, will be the oldest in Turin, not Russ or the Kiwi's Lorne DePape... speaking of the Kiwis, some of their officials suffered theft while in transit in Canada...
• Here's a great feature on a TCN favourite, U.S. women’s second Jessica Schultz, who hails from Alaska. It also mentions a couple of incidents that occurred before the Johnson/Kleibrink exhibition game in Winnipeg back in early Jan: one with a local media writer, the other with Kleibrink lead Christine Keshen who has since described the whole thing as out-of-proportion...
• Well, somebody finally said it – it was inevitable – and it goes to the Winnipeg Free Press’ Paul Wiecek (subscription only):
But such are the lofty expectations Canadians have of their curlers that anything less than gold at the Olympics is considered a letdown.
But is that really true? Has any writer ever polled the curling populace for their specific thoughts on this? Has one man-on-the-street ever been quoted?
We’re not sure. We wonder if the media always have been, and always will be, guilty of pontificating their own perception in the name of “Canadians” on this particular “question”...