Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New countries come to the fore

A few years ago, you would have laughed if someone told you Canada had a string of games involving Czech Republic, Italy, Russia and China. But not any more. If you ever wanted any evidence the Olympics are helping curling, see these countries. And these aren’t the hapless throw-ins we used to see once in a while at world championships. You know, the odd time a team from some almost-non-curling country would qualify for the worlds and would show up look very much like a team from the C league at your club. That made it all the worse when they’d win a game.

I think Russ Howard lost to France in ’93 and I think Al Hackner lost to Italy in ’82 – I might have the years wrong and perhaps the countries reversed, but back in the day, it was unheard of for this to happen. I don’t even think the Italians curled indoors at that time – of course much has changed. That doesn’t happen any more – these teams are all legit, really only lacking a little experience.

I watched a little bit last night with Canada taking on Russia and I was really impressed with the Russian skip. My only question is are there any other players in Russia of this caliber? Or is Ludmilla Privovkova another Dordi Nordby, someone we’re going to see at the world championship for the next 20 years?

I have to say that the Canadians looked good (What’s with the curly hair Jennifer? Did you have time to put curls in it or did you not have time to straighten it? Inquiring minds want to know) even though they were playing somewhat poorly. What I mean by that is when you can win games when you don’t have your best stuff, it shows some fortitude and clearly the Canadians weren’t at their best last night. Somehow they gutted it out and won which you have to do during a week like this. (I heard Cathy O has the flu which may be part of the story.) An impressive, non-impressive display if that makes any sense.

1 comment:

TCN said...

Nice post Bob. As usual.

1. Italy has a long history of beating Canada. One we remember seeing in person was Andrea Pavani beating Ed Lukowich 9-7 in Toronto in 1986. Another big one was at the 2006 Olympics, where Joel Retournaz beat Howard/Gushue 7-6.

2. Russian coach Olga Andiranova told us "You should see the younger girls coming up behind Liudmilla. They are better."

3. Paul Wiecek was all over the JJones Hair Issue in the scrum last night. It turns out the curls are part of Jones' natural look... she merely decided not to blow-dry yesterday.