Not a clean sweep

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

VERNON, B.C. -- There is still a decidedly mixed reaction to mixed doubles.

The World Curling Federation hosted a world mixed doubles championship for the first time in Finland earlier this month, with Switzerland taking the title. But it seems to have gone over better in Europe than it did in North America.

"It's weird not to have sweepers and, because of that, I didn't find it as exciting," Team Canada skip Jennifer Jones said between games at the women's world championship. "I miss that enthusiasm to the game. That's what makes the game so exciting. There's no yelling or shouting."

CONTINENTAL CUP

Jones got her first exposure to the event when she competed at this year's Continental Cup. But the rules were changed so that shooters had to get up and sweep their own shots.

USA skip Deb McCormick, who competed at the same Continental Cup, concurred.

"I don't like it that much," she said. "I'm more of a traditionalist and they take the sweeping out of it. Sweeping your own rock is kind of silly. I understand why they're doing it -- because they want to get it into the Olympics. I'm just not a big fan."

Jones, however, does support the push to add mixed doubles to the Olympics.

"The more Olympic curling the better," she said. "I mean, if that's the only one we can get in, then that's the way it is. But it's hard work."

The WCF had intended to add a singles competition but opted for mixed doubles.

"But we needed to have two world championships before the summer of 2010, that's why we did it so quickly this year," explained WCF president Les Harrison. "That's when we'll make our pitch to the IOC, based on the feedback we get from the two world championships.

"We got positive responses from everyone. People really work hard at it because they have to sweep their own rocks ... It was very exciting and the feedback we got from fans said it was great to watch and they didn't know how they would go back to watch regular curling."

About 20 countries held mixed doubles championships with Canada and the U.S. being among the few that didn't have one (Canada sent two of its national mixed champs).

Denmark third Madeleine Dupont competed in her country's first mixed doubles championship.

"I like the game," she said enthusiastically. "You really worked hard."


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