Moore wouldn't change a thing

STEVE GREEN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

One loss 20 years ago yesterday turned into a lot of victories for Linda Moore -- not the least of which was an Olympic gold medal.

At least that's the way the 1985 Canadian and world women's curling champion prefers to look at her defeat by Marilyn Bodogh in the 1986 Scott Tournament of Hearts final at Thompson arena.

A familiar face on TSN's curling coverage for 15 years, Moore took some time out yesterday to reminisce. The time has flown by, she said.

"I'm so involved with curling still. I worked for Curl BC for 19 years till last fall and of course there's the broadcasting, so maybe the events I played in don't seem that long ago."

In 1986, she and her rink of Lindsay Sparkes, Deb Jones and Laurie Carney were the first Team Canada after main sponsor Scott Paper initiated the idea as a way to boost the event's visibility.

"The main memories I have (from 1986) is that because there hadn't been a Team Canada before, we were dealing with a lot of new things. There was some question as to how to handle our role.

"But I think the Team Canada concept was a fantastic idea and marvellous for women's curling. That's the thing about Scott Paper as a sponsor -- they were the ones who said women's curling was the best and everything they do is first-class."

Moore and Bodogh both went 10-1 in the round-robin in 1986, Moore losing to Bodogh and Bodogh losing to Sue-Ann Bartlett of Newfoundland. And while the 7-3 loss in the final -- which gave Ontario its first title -- isn't the happiest of memories, there's little doubt in Moore's mind of its subsequent benefits.

"I had a very bad final for a lot of reasons," she recalled.

"All I remember is being asked to be at the arena very early and I was at that stage in my career when I wasn't nervous enough. I was too calm.

"And though I regret not playing well in that game, I learned so much about myself because of it. We hadn't realized, for instance, how we needed our pregame preparation to be different than it was.

"All that helped us win the Olympic trials the next year and then the gold in Calgary," when curling was a demonstration sport.

In 1985, Moore's rink became the sixth rink in the history of the Canadian women's championship -- but the only one since Scott came on board -- to go undefeated. In fact, the rink didn't lose a provincial playdown game that year, either.

So how would that team, in its prime, stack up against the top rinks of today?

"I'm not one to compare decades," Moore said. "But if you were a champion at a Canadian women's championship, you would be competitive at any event in the future, all things being equal, because you had to be the very best."

Moore, who turned 52 Friday, retired from competitive curling after the 1988 Olympics and doesn't regret it.

"I'd been a skip since I was 16 and at the time, I was just finishing a masters degree, so I was looking forward to a new challenge. I have very strong goals, but once they're reached, I need to move on and try new things."

One of those turned out to be broadcasting.

"I happened to tell the people at TSN I was retiring after the Olympics and if they ever needed anyone, just to drop by and say hello, I was available," she said of how she got her gig with Vic Rauter and Ray Turnbull.

"I've covered events from Victoria to St. John's to Yellowknife. There's no better job and no better way to see the country and I'll be here as long as they'll have me."


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