Uneasy lies this crown

JOE PAVIA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

It isn't a double rye and ginger.

The world mixed doubles begin Friday in Vierumaki, Finland. Twenty-nine curling powerhouses -- among them Kazakhstan, Brazil and Wales -- will battle to crown the first ever king and queen of curling.

Canada is represented by Albertans Dean Ross and Susan O'Connor, who were the skip and vice of the Canadian mixed winners.

Hopefully, the eccentric rules don't have to be explained in numerous languages.

A rink consists of two players, one female and one male, with no alternates. The scoring is the same as regular curling although each team only throws five rocks. The stationary stones are also in play. Stationary stones?

There's one stationary stone per side -- one outside the house and one near the button.

It gets better.

The team without the hammer gets 30 seconds to decide the placement of both stones prior to each end. Just imagine if a team of four had to decide. Each rink has 48 minutes to play.

So with five rocks per side, plus that pre-placed stone, a team could get the much sought after six-ender. Asham may have to develop a new broom. They use the four-rock rule mainly because four rocks are missing.

Both players can sweep any time, anywhere, after the rock is delivered. If the ice is heavy the broom holder is going to skip down the sheet a lot to help sweep. If this doesn't keep them on their toes, the fact that the first thrower is also the last thrower will. The position monikers should be skip and skipper.

The World Curling Federation wants to add another discipline to future Olympic Games. Doubles fits into the International Olympic Committee's new event criteria perfectly -- very few bodies, no new venues and women-friendly. Plus lots of nations play it. Rio should host the 2009 championships.

Pat Ryan and Diane Foster are in Finland as well, competing for the world senior title.

LET'S ROCK

USA curling may soon get a boost from Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. A U.S. marketing firm is in serious talks with NBC to air a new reality series called Rockstar Curling, hosted by either of the rockers.

The concept is to find an equal number of men and women and then train them for months to enter the U.S. Olympic curling trial playdowns. NBC saw a 700% increase in its curling viewership during the Turin Games.

OCA RESULTS: Mixed junior regional winners are: 1A -- Christian Tolusso, B -- Rachel Homan; bantam regional victors: 1A -- Lynne Kreviazuk, B -- Crystal Lillico; Zone 2 mixed winners: A -- Jeff McCrady and Tyler Reid; Zone 2 mixed seniors: A -- Layne Noble and B -- Louis Phillips. Intermediate regional winners: 1A -- Kevin Baker and Barb Kelly and B -- Jim Marshall and Mitch Baker.

ODDS & ENDS: Doug Titus will represent the region in the Stick provincials. OVCA Little Rocks championship qualifiers are: Zone 1 -- Stewart Leslie and Ali MacLeod Mayes; 2 -- Kim Gannon and Lindsay Bell; 3 -- Matthew Allan and Liam Maahs. Neil Sinclair won the Schenectady, New York, Junior Invitational Sunday. The City of Ottawa's 'spiel' is almost filled up. Just two open teams are required in option B, starting March 11, and option C, starting March 13.

CURLING THIS WEEK: The mixed and senior mixed regionals are this weekend. TSN's coverage of the Tim Hortons Brier will begin Saturday at 3 p.m. Local curlers Craig Savill and Jean-Michel Menard have a good chance of making the Brier playoffs.


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