Maybe I’m the lone guy in this, but I’m not one who thinks the world of curling changed when Bingyu Wang won yesterday’s (today’s) women’s world championship.
Yes, it’s marvelous that China grabbed its first global crown. And it’s stunning just how quickly this team became world-class. And yes, it’s great that the final was beamed into China on state-run television.
But wake me up when China has more than a few dozen curlers.
For some reason, I’m skeptical that this win will open the floodgates for the sport in Mao’s old home as some are suggesting. First, there’s still no curling culture in China so even if people were watching, so how many viewers had a clue as to what was going on?
Second, there are no facilities to speak of in China for folks to go and try things out. These gals live, train and curl in Canada. Why? Because we have the facilities. Nothing is going to change until they start building curling rinks in China and this win might help that a bit, but I don’t see six-sheeters springing up like daisies any time soon.
Here’s what I compare this to: remember when Myriam Bedard won a gold in the biathlon? There wasn’t a sudden rush of folks to that sport. Now it’s not a fair comparison because you don’t go out Friday night for some mixed biathlon. But to the Chinese, curling is nothing more than an obscure sport which they’ll never play nor have any desire to play.
My point is for curling to grow in any way, shape or form in China, there has to be more grass roots development. Maybe this will be the start of a long road towards that goal, but I have my doubts.