Monday, March 31, 2008

China still the story

Take nothing away from Jennifer Jones and her fine rink from Winnipeg, but the real story of the Women’s World Championship is still the Chinese team, silver medalists.
Let’s face it – five years ago if you said you had to beat Japan and China to win the world championship, people would laugh at you.

Jones won the global crown yesterday with a nice showing, a dominant one. As they did at the Scotties, the put in a gritty performance to earn the title which eluded them last time around. They finally took the easy road in this game, which for this squad this year has definitely been a road less traveled. Applause all around.

But let’s face it – China stunned everyone, many who weren’t even aware the country had a curling program (although they’ve been in the worlds a few times now). Their performance even surprised themselves, never thinking they’d reach the world finals. Guess eight to 10 hours a day of training pays off, huh?

Check out the Google new clippings of Sunday’s final and you’ll see that a vast majority talk as much about the Chinese team as the Canadians. Everyone is simply amazed as well they should be. In eight short years, Bingyu Wang went from being a hockey coach’s daughter to a dazzling skip.

Perhaps the only thing that prevented her from winning yesterday was a lack of experience. It was clear the Chinese team didn’t perform as they had all week. They admitted to being nervous. To me, it was obvious they probably have no idea just how good they are. With that killer draw weight Wang exhibited all week, she could have played a much more aggressive game against Team Canada in the final and maybe come out on top but the inexperience showed. There were a few questionable strategy decisions, but still, the execution was exceptional.

So here’s to Team China, what a week. And here’s to Team Canada, on top of the world at last.

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