* Chinese coach Dan Rafael is not a guy who holds back when there’s a microphone present. The Montrealer is usually quite direct in his comments and I used to think that it was a way of charging up his team but then, I don’t think his curlers read the Canadian newspapers. If the curlers aren’t reading, officials certainly are. Rafael has been muzzled for the rest of the Games after some strong – and accurate – comments yesterday about his team’s performance. Here’s what he told the press after the team lost last night:
"They have no passion for the game. It's their job. They just take everything for granted," Rafael said. "We didn't show up. You just have to look at the stats to know. We beat Canada, and we don't show up. They looked pretty amused. They think it's funny for whatever reason - you're at the Olympics. I'm furious."
Rafael said he’s not likely to return after his contract ends this summer which is no surprise. Another coach told me last night that the word on the street is that Rafael will be turfed shortly after the world championships in Swift Current, Sask.
* So maybe this thing will turn into the shoot-out everyone expected after all. Last night, the British team played its best game of the competition, especially the skip, David Murdoch. For me, however, the key to the team is second Peter Smith. When he plays well, which hasn’t been always in this competition, the team plays well. These guys appear to be on a roll and if that's the case, we could have a barn-burner of a gold-medal game.
* Had to love this Tweet from Rainn Wilson (even with the spelling mistake), who plays Dwight Schrute on The Office: “Is there such a thing as 'fantasy curling'? Cause if there is, I'm drafting Binyu Wang.”
* Speaking of Tweets, here’s a nasty one from Amy Nixon, third for Shannon Kleibrink’s rink: “is just about done with how "fit" the canadian women's curling team is. That whole team is far from fit.” Meow!
* Food Rant of the Day: So the folks here are the fine Vancouver Olympic Centre have a really nice media set up. There’s a massive work area behind the curling rink and a cafeteria where you can have anything you want to eat. . . as long as it’s chili. For the fifth day in a row, chili is what they’re serving up for lunch. And dinner. Last night, when I asked the woman serving up the slop what was on the menu, she said: “Shepherd’s Pie.” I was overjoyed at the change of menu and ordered up a plate only to learn that it was the same old chili with mashed potatoes on top. This may be the first curling event in history at which I lose weight.