Canadians battle back to win mixed bronze

SEAN GRASSIE

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

CORTINA, Italy -- Trailing 5-0 to China after five ends, our fans had good reason to flee the arena and find a brighter outlook around beautiful Cortina.

But fortunately they stayed for the final rock of the world mixed doubles curling championship, as they got to see us step up on the podium and accept our bronze medals after rallying for a 6-5 win.

China came out with guns blazing and we had no answer, giving up five straight steals to dig ourselves a big hole. But teammate Alli Nimik stuck a run-back for three points to cut the deficit to 5-3 and give us some life with two ends left.

Alli threw the first and fifth rocks this week in the mixed doubles format, leaving me with stones two, three and four.

We then stole two points in the seventh after China racked a guard on a take-out attempt with their last rock. Tied at 5-5 on the final end, the Chinese male player tried to pick our shot rock off the button but instead took two of his own out.

We made two guards with our final rocks, leaving the Chinese female player with a difficult angle-raise take-out for the win. It looked good most of the way down, but caught the swooping curl at the end and left us with the winning steal.

But the Chinese pair -- the players on the men's and women's national teams -- were impressive all week and we got a first-hand look at how Canada is no longer the single dominant force in curling.

In fact, the team from Hungary looked like world-beaters when they edged us 7-5 in Friday's semifinal.

The Hungarians, though, couldn't keep the magic going as they fell 7-4 to Switzerland in the gold-medal match.

For the Swiss, it was their 19th win in a row at this event as they also ran the table at last year's inaugural world mixed doubles championship.

Winnipeg's Sean Grassie is with Team Canada at the world mixed doubles championship.


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