March 24, 2012
Third time's the charm for Swedish skip?
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. - Margaretha Sigfridsson's tears of joy went deeper.
Much deeper than coming through a hard-fought extra-end win over Switzerland in Friday's 1-2 game.
Sgifridsoon has had only three opportunities to skip on the international stage. All three times, she's got her team into the final.
"It's so much better to win the 1-2 game to go directly to the final," said Sigfridsson, after the team's final practise Saturday morning.
"You secure a medal. That's important, of course. Once you get to the final, that's the goal. We will need to perform at our very, very best. But once you know you're in the final, you can relax and just focus on that game."
History has not been totally kind to Sigfridsson. She lost the final of the 1997 world junior championship and in 2002 at Bismarck, North Dakota, got herself another silver medal.
Both losses — and a loss in the European championship in December — came to Scotland.
"Of course, it's hard when you don't get to win the final," said Sigfridsson. "It was the hardest one in juniors, really, because we were the best team there.
"We've played a lot of finals since then and we have a good record playing in finals this year."
Sigfridsson has skipped winners in both the Swedish championship and the Swedish Super League in 2012.
"It's the most fun game to play, the final," said Sigfridsson. "You have to do your best and see how far that goes."
It's been a decade since her last worlds finals appearance.
Sweden has a very strong curling tradition and Anette Norberg has won three of the four finals she's appeared in, including the 2011 finale.
Sigfridsson has placed herself in a a position where she could become the first different skip to deliver a world title for Sweden.
"We put a lot of expectations on ourselves as well," said Sigfridsson. "All the teams are really good at the worlds, so we're really happy to get to the playoffs and the final.
"I think there's a little more pressure on Canada since there's so many good teams and are more expected to be in the final."
With eight worlds wins, Sweden is second only to Canada for trips to the winner's circle. That tradition only makes Swedish teams that much stronger.
"The most important thing is you realize it's quite possible since you've beaten the teams at home quite a few times," said Sigfidsson.
"Then, you see it's quite possible to go to the worlds, get to the final and win it. We play good teams at home, so you have to be one of the best teams in the world to get out of Sweden. Competition is important."
Sweden came through several difficult situations this week. Even though their numbers have not been up there with the leaders, Sigfridsson has managed to make the most out of the hands that are dealt her.
The team got their win in the 1-2 game despite last-rock Maria Prytz having a tricky shot.
"We should have been more attentive to that a bit more," said Sigfridsson. "It was a very good team effort and Maria played well, but not at the level she's used to. That was hard for her. We practised with the stones and we're comfortable with it now."