Clash for curling cash

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

Like Canadians, Swedes are hockey crazy.

Now they have curling fever after Sweden's women's team won gold in Torino last February.

"We are recognized in Sweden and curling is more known as a sport and accepted as a sport in Sweden," said skip Anette Norberg. "It's great for the sport. We need more arenas to be able to bring everyone on ice. It will take a couple more years."

Norberg is among the curlers leading Europe against North America at the fourth edition of the Continental Cup of Curling. The event runs today through Sunday at Chilliwack's Prospera Centre.

The star-studded roster of players includes reigning Olympic medalists plus world, Canadian and American champions.

"This is definitely going to be a highlight of the year for us," said Brad Gushue, skip of the Newfoundland rink that won men's gold in Torino for Canada.

Gushue said his rink was considering taking a year off, but it's soldiering on in a bid to qualify for the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

North America won the first Continental Cup in 2002 in Regina and split the next two with Europe. The winning side at the event, to air Saturday and Sunday on CBC, gets $75,000 of the $120,000 purse.


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