Manitobans learn from loss in 1995

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

PAISLEY, Scotland -- Cathy Overton-Clapham would suggest nobody ever remembers who comes in second. But a lot of Manitobans seem to remember who the women's runner-ups were at the 1995 world curling championships in Brandon.

Connie Laliberte's Winnipeg foursome, which included current Team Canada players Overton-Clapham and Cathy Gauthier, played Sweden in the world final that year. They lost on a steal in an extra end when Laliberte failed to hit and stick for the winning point.

It's a disappointment that sticks with Overton-Clapham to this day.

"It was a very tough thing to get over," she said yesterday during a break in the action at the world women's championship. "We were the best team there all week.

"I don't think it was so much that shot. Obviously there are so many shots you can take back in a game. Obviously it was a shot to win, but I think because we were the best team there all week and we really controlled that game, it was hard to let it slip away."

Overton-Clapham and Gauthier feel very fortunate to be getting a second chance at a world title 10 years later.

"We had it, and we lost it, and you never know when you are going to get back," Overton-Clapham said.

"Motivated? Yeah, we've talked about it ... about how huge it is to win, because no one ever remembers who came second. It shows how important it is to come and play well when you get your chance."

OLYMPIC DREAMS: American skip Cassie Johnson of Bemidji, Minn., has a hard time believing her quick rise to stardom on the curling scene south of the border.

The 23-year-old former world junior champion qualified for her first world women's championship this year and at the same time earned a berth in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

"I feel really lucky," she said yesterday after a 9-8 win over Scotland at the Lagoon Leisure Centre.

"Coming this far is a dream come true for all of us, and it's happening a lot sooner to us than to other teams.

"We're trying not to think too much about the Olympics this week, but we know that this is good practice for it. It is a big dream of mine and having already reached it ... wow. Sometimes I don't even realize that it's not a dream. I have to remind myself that we are going to the Olympics."

CLOCKS CLEANED: Members of the Canadian team were none too impressed with the decision of officials here to play the world championship without time clocks.

The clocks are an essential part of provincial and national championships in Canada and they certainly impact the way some games are played.

But somehow, they are not important enough for the worlds?

"I don't like it," Gauthier said.

"It's a disappointment to come to a world championship and not have something so basic as time clocks.

"For a team like ours that likes to play with lots of rocks in play, we feel it's been an advantage to us. We've really worked at our game and planned how much time we need, and we actually put teams into trouble at Canadians.

"It penalizes the teams that do tend to play along. I don't know if we are going to have issues with teams playing slow, but we aren't used to it."

For the record, Russia and Sweden played a three hour and 38-minute extra-end game yesterday.

PEBBLES: It was a highly successful debut for China at the women's worlds yesterday. China, skipped by Bingyu Wang, stole a deuce in the 10th to beat Japan 7-5 in their first game at this level ... Scotland blasted Denmark 10-0 in six ends yesterday, marking only the fifth shutout in the history of the championship.


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