Saturday, February 18, 2006

Olympic Curling, W Session 8


A stunning loss for Shannon Kleibrink's Team Canada to Japan (photo) this morning... according to some. But not according to The Curling News.


• Japan's Ayumi Onadero had already beaten Kleibrink 6-4 at a World Curling Tour event in Red Deer this past fall. She also beat two other Calgary teams, skipped by Renelle Bryden and Cheryl Bernard, in the same event and eventually lost the semi.

• Onodero also travelled to the Strauss Crown of Curling in Kamloops, and lost the final to B.C.'s Toni Wells. The squad finished in 22nd place on the Tour with over $7,000 in winnings.

• The ice conditions are, in a word, controversial. Sometimes straight and extremely quick, the ice has frustrated many teams here, both male and female. The conditions on Sheet D, where both Canadian teams have played 75 per cent of their games – can you believe that? – created a more even playing field between the relatively inexperienced Japanese and the frustrated Canadians.

• There's something going on with Team Canada. We're not spotlighting the absence of Christine Keshen, who is apparently ill, nor the poor performance of alternate Sandra Jenkins. The squad seems listless, and not at all poised to rush headlong onto the medal podium. There might even be some dissention in the ranks, on a far less loud and obvious level than that of Brad Gushue's men's squad.

Speaking of, it's a full house in Pinerolo for Men's Session 9 and this place is rocking. The Italians are screaming and chanting as if it was a soccer match, and they were even booing Great Britain's Rhona Martin and bursting balloons during her delivery in GB's match against Italy's Diana Gaspari. Imagine the bedlam when the Italian men went up 3-0 on Canada's Gushue/Howard combo... it's now 5-1 for Italy at the break – the Italians have stolen twice – with the Canucks just trying to stay calm...

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