Canadian revelry rocks Bernard

TODD SAELHOF, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

She’ll never say they settled for silver.

It’s just not in Cheryl Bernard.

So it’s with significant triumph — and her head held high — that the super-curler led her Calgary Curling Club rink to the Olympic Winter Games’ silver medal in Vancouver.

Bernard, third Susan O’Connor, second Carolyn Darbyshire, lead Cori Bartel and fifth Kristie Moore returned to the city Monday with plenty to be pleased about just three days after a heartbreaking loss of the Olympic gold to Sweden in 11 ends.

“There is no doubt we are disappointed in losing the gold-medal game,” said Bernard about a final her Canadian team was well in control of heading into the 10th end.

“However, we didn’t lose a gold. We won a silver and made our family and friends and our country very proud.”

Very proud.

With all the pressures of expected curling gold by Canadians — on Canadian soil — Bernard and Co. handled defeat with composure that befits an Olympic champion.

Bernard is the type of person who sees the ... er ... silver lining in everything, and she isn’t about to change her philosophy now.

She’s not about to take for granted what it meant to be embraced by loud-and-proud Canadians during an event that had fans treating them like rock stars at every turn.

The Vancouver venue was rockin’ with impromptu renditions of O Canada and cheering that rivalled the revelry of gold-medal hockey games.

“I have never seen such evidence of Canadians so proud to be Canadian — it will give me goose bumps for the rest of my life,” Bernard said.

“We were so proud to wear the maple leaf.

“Our mantra this year was perspective,” continued Bernard. “We put curling into perspective as something we do because we love it, our family and friends are what makes us who we are. That simple statement allowed us to just play because we love the game and not because we have to win —and that gave us success.

“Normally, the Olympics is something that you can’t really prepare for. But for the Olympics in your own country? We had no idea what it would be like.

“And it was amazing beyond our wildest dreams and imagination.”

Extra ends

There were no “silly seconds” for Sandy Turner and her Calgary Curling Club squad at the Alberta Masters Curling Championships in High River. The weekend’s provincial event saw Turner & Co. roll to the master women’s title, capped by a 6-3 win over Inglewood’s Heather Paul-Scott in Sunday’s final draw at the Highwood Curling Club. A four-end sixth turned the game in favour of Turner, third Judy Carr, second Marilyn Toews and lead Betty Clarke. Turner, who considers a runner-up finish a “silly second,” skipped her rink to a 5-1 roundrobin record to tie Paul-Scott atop the standings. Turner had to defeat North Hill’s Marilyn Bratton in the event semifinal to earn a shot at a second consecutive provincial crown in master (60-years-plus) curling. Fellow south rinks Bratton, Helen Smith (High River) and Louise Welsch (Nanton) finished with respective 4-2, 1-5 and 1-5 roundrobin records in the seven-team provincials. The Turner foursome now sets its sights on the national banner at the 2010 Canadian Masters Curling Championships in Saint John, N.B., March 28-April 2 ... On the men’s side, it was Edmonton’s Ralph Lee beating High Prairie’s Bernie Poloz 7-4 in Sunday’s finale. The south reps, Rod Butcher (North Hill), Emery Boucher (High River) and Ron McCurdy (Calgary Curling Club) finished with respective 3-4, 2-5 and 1-6 records in the eight-team event ... The bantam districts in Okotoks over the weekend saw Kyler Kleibrink (Okotoks), Tristan Thiessen (Lethbridge), Derek Bowyer (Medicine Hat), Jeremy Harty (Nanton) and Kathleen Steele (Medicine Hat) among the qualifiers for the southerns, March 19-21 at Calgary’s Garrison Curling Club.

Last rock

The mixed southerns begin Friday in Lethbridge, where three rinks will be determined for the upcoming provincials. Rinks vying to qualify for the Alberta finals include Stephen Utz (Cochrane), Trevor Slupski (North Hill), Brad Chyz (Calgary Curling Club), Kevin Yablonski (Calgary Winter Club), Matthew McDonald (Chestermere), Darren Moulding (Airdrie/Lethbridge) and Thomas Usselman (North Hill).

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca


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