Saturday, March 22, 2008

Setting up the women's worlds

The women’s world championships get underway today and it’s a chance for Jennifer Jones to make up for that disaster in Paisley, Scotland in her last trip to the world championships. Not a stretch to say that event was probably the worst in the history of the world championships. There have been some pretty crazy world championships over the years, but that may take the cake and it’s hard to fault Jones for her poor performance there. Although the conditions were the same for everyone, that became not much more than a crapshoot and hardly a reflection of good curling.

To prepare for this week, Jones and her team spent a lot of time last week throwing rocks on the ice at the Brier, practicing on the arena conditions.

In the old days, any Canadian team would go into the world final as the favourite. I think Jones will do that this week, but the era of just walking through most of the field are over. Long gone. The other countries don’t have the depth Canada does, but they do have a remarkably talented team or two. I think Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott and Debbie McCormick of the U.S. will be the main contenders but there are a number of others who’ve benefited from the Olympic money being poured into the training of these players. The Russians and the Chinese are perfect examples of this.

As I’ve written before, I think Jones is probably the most determined and focused curler in the game today. She seems to have a Tiger-like drive in her. That will put her in good position to finally win a world title, but it won’t come easily. And as we saw in the Brier final last week, bad ice doesn’t just happen in countries outside of Canada. No matter how good you are, there’s always an element of luck in any championship.


Bob Cowan said...

Bit harsh on the Paisley event, eh Bob? Were you there? I was. And conditions may not have been perfect, but they were not as bad as you infer.

Certainly, Sweden's Anette Norberg did not find them so bad, nor did USA's Cassie Johnston, nor Dordi Nordby or Norway.

As I recall Jones lost to Sweden, the USA and Norway (twice).

By decrying the conditions (the ice techs were Canadian BTW) you are taking something away from the fine performances of the teams which finished ahead of Canada.

Jones and co are indeed a fine team, but they did not show it in Scotland that week.

From Curling Today

BW said...

Not to take anything away from Norberg, Bob, she won the event. She was clearly the best team there and she dealt with the ice better than anyone elsle. There's no reason to believe the outcome would have been any different had the conditions been better.

However, good conditions should be the first consideration of any major event and, by all accounts (including an interview I did with Norberg) Paisley did not have them. All I was suggesting was that Jones (and other teams) didn't have a chance to showcase their skills as they would have liked.

Add in the lack of fans, volunteer walk-out and the time clock issue and I don't think I was being too harsh.