Friday, February 20, 2009

Insane curling week

There is so much going on, we almost don’t know where to begin. Prepare yourself for a dizzying ride... and you might want to bookmark this page!

We’ll start in British Columbia, host to two big events starting tomorrow.

First, the doors to the gigantic new 2010 Olympic and Paralympic curling venue – impressively labelled the Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre – were thrown open to the public yesterday. Following the ceremonial first stone (photo by Metro) there was a full slate of activities running from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, such as curling demonstrations – featuring 2002 Olympian Georgina Wheatcroft (who seems to have been hanging around all week) and emcee Ray Turnbull of TSN – plus a multicultural assortment of performers, including dancers, bagpipers, a hip-hop crew, stilt-dancers (!) and a South Asian bhangra team.

Plus free munchies, free pins from Canadian Olympic broadcaster CTV, Olympian and Paralympian autograph sessions, inukshuk-building and of course the official Vancouver 2010 mascots – Quatchi, Miga, and Sumi.

You can see pics and stories via Canwest, and the Globe (with the bazillion-dollar cost breakdown) while this Canadian Press squib mentions disappointment in the seating, saying “Canada's love for curling could easily have filled more than 6,000 seats.” We agree.

Dubbed “The Centre of it All” for last night’s bash, the facility will also boast an impressive post-Games legacy – a brand-new, eight-sheet Vancouver Curling Club, an NHL-size ice rink, a 6,200-square-metre aquatic centre (with a 50-metre lap pool, leisure pool, outdoor pool and hot tub), a 9,300-square-metre community centre complete with full-size gym, multi-purpose rooms and fitness centre, a library, field house and offices.

The best link, however, is this one from the World Curling Federation, because it previews the 2009 World Wheelchair Curling Championship, which starts tomorrow.

Canada’s six-time Brier competitor Jim Armstrong – who hails from Vancouver – now skips the national team, and he leads the hometown heroes against mighty Norway (two-time defending champion), Korea (whose 2008 silver-winning skip actually yells at the rocks, believing they will listen), Germany (winners of the Challenge qualifier back in November), China (it’s their first appearance, and they have an average age of just 24), Scotland (their skipper won two worlds and Paralympic silver in 2006) and the United States (winners of 2008 bronze).

As the WCF story points out, no less than four websites will be dishing results, shot-by-shot graphics, news and photos, so be sure to stay plugged in over the next nine days.

The International Paralympic Committee also has a preview here.

But that’s not all, for B.C.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts also starts up Saturday, from nearby Victoria, with wall-to-wall TV coverage on The Sports Network... and live scoring at the event website... lots of media and predictions... and maybe even some occasional blogging from The Curling News, who knows?

Also, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials start tomorrow in Colorado. This is a combined championship, which will send the winning teams to the women’s worlds in Gangneung and the Ford World Men’s in Moncton... and also to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games next year. So for the Yanks, this it... right here and right now, baby.

Even USA Today has taken notice, with this feature on the wide generation gap on Team Erika Brown also including a link to “Relive the curling action from the 2006 Games”. Nice.

There’s more U.S. Trials media here (Duluth-based story and video) and here (featuring Wisconsin’s Debbie McCormick)... and even from this guy, who wrote a decent piece except for the not-too-thinly-veiled opening shots.

And did you know you can the playoffs live online, via Universal Sports?

Wait, there’s more.

As you saw in our previous post, we have spies on the ground at the Winter Universiade in Harbin, China, and we’re looking forward to more bird’s-eye viewpoints coming from the other side of the globe.

And now back to Vancouver for a second. The aforementioned VCC is hosting a Mixed Doubles bonspiel tomorrow... and this reminds us that this year’s 2009 World Mixed Doubles
are in gorgeous Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, which of course will be hosting the 2010 World Men’s. So there you go.

And what about events that are ending this weekend? Geez, where do we start?

• Manitoba men’s provincial: live scoring located here, some Shaw TV game coverage via webstreaming here and some recent media here ...

• The Scottish men (scoring here) and women (scoring here) are almost into playoffs, with expert commentary located here ...

• The European Youth Olympic Festival (say what?) going on in Poland (say what again?) is into curling’s gold medal games... today! Scoring here!

• The Swiss men and women have their championship finals on Saturday... but to be perfectly honest, we can’t seem to find the link anymore.

And with that, our brains are fried. Pfffttt.

1 comment:

Huskers-For-Palin said...

What you fail to mention is not only the US Olympic Curling Trials on-line, but will also brodcast select games LIVE on NBC's Universal Sports (semis and finals)!!!