She came a long way baby

Canadian skip Heather Nedohin reacts to her shot during their bronze medal game against South Korea...

Canadian skip Heather Nedohin reacts to her shot during their bronze medal game against South Korea at the World Women's Curling Championships in Lethbridge, Alta., on Sunday, March 25, 2012. (Andy Clark/Reuters)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:35 PM ET

LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. - Winning a bronze medal for Canada at the women's world curling championships, for Heather Nedohin, was not having to say she was sorry.

And it was very much getting back to her story.

"A medal for us at this level is a very proud moment," said the Edmonton skip who defeated Ji-Sun Kim 9-6 of Korea to complete her trip from being the fifth seed going into the provincial playoffs in Leduc to No. 3 in the world.

When you look at it that way, there's not much to take away from Nedohin on the day she avoided suffering the same fate as Colleen Jones (1982, 1999, 2002) and Jennifer Jones (2005, 2009) as the only Canadians to ever come to this event and not leave with a medal.

As is the case in hockey, the curling mentality has always been gold or bust. But remember Canada is a country which hasn't won gold at the last four women's world championships and hasn't won Olympic gold since Sandra Schmirler in Nagano in 1998.

"It's been a dream season," said Nedohin. "Ever since I was a little girl I've dreamed of this. To win a medal at the world championships and especially to do it in Alberta ...

"I've been with Beth Iskiw for five years. We're mothers," she said as she did her post game interviews with one of her daughters wrapped around her leg.

"And Laine Peters and Jessica Mair ... I kid Dave. He had Huff & Puff on his front end. I've got Grunt & Grind," she said making reference to her husband and the four-time Brier-winning, three-time world championship Ferbey Four team featuring sweepers Scott Pfeifer and Marcel Rocque.

"It was an amazing experience. We learned a lot."

Nedohin has been a high wire act from beginning to end.

Against Crystal Webster in the Northerns in Leduc she was down two in eight, scored one, stole on in the 10th and stole again in an extra end to win it.

"We've thought about that measurement against Crystal in the 10th end so many times. It was millimetres."

Then there was the crazy route to winning the Scotties in Red Deer, losing to the Territories and New Brunswick in dropping three of her first five early and having to win eight of her last nine at the end of the week to do it.

Finishing fourth and having to win the 3-4 game, the semifinal and final all without hammer, needing a measurement and re-measurement to dispatch four-time champion Jennifer Jones of Manitoba on a shot she and her teammates thought was an inch too heavy.

"Against Jennifer it was millimetres again. Twice. When you think of those breaks ... it's been an amazing season."

For the first time in 14 years she skipped an Alberta team to the world women's curling championships. Her team also qualified for the Canada Cup and Continental Cup and the right to return next year as Team Canada and seized $224,000 including prize money, cresting Sports Canada funding and Own the Podium funding.

Here, despite losing to Italy on the last day and ending up in a tiebreaker with the same 7-4 record she had in Red Deer, Nedohin's win over the U.S. in the tiebreaker gave her six straight playoff wins dating back to the semi in Leduc and seven of eight after the win here Sunday.

Nedohin's run didn't end up with a gold medal here but it may very well have resulted in giving herself a chance on a bigger stage.

She won eight Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials points for winning Alberta, 45 for winning the Scotties and 30 for finishing third at the worlds.

While Jennifer Jones sits first with 189 points this season, Jones was the first qualifier for the trials in December 2013 in Winnipeg by winning the Canada Cup. That opened the door for the team finishing second in the CRTS points standings to earn the second qualification spot for the eight-team even which will produce Canada's representative to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

But coming out of here, Nedohin now has a 23-point lead over Sherry Middaugh -- 142-119 -- heading to the final event of the season, the Player's Championship in Summerside, P.E.I., April 17-22.

The Player's event is worth 45 points for first, 35 for second and 25 for third with all other teams in the field receiving three points per win.

If Middaugh wins it while Nedohin at the same time is a total disaster, she can still lose it. But she's provided herself an excellent chance of punching her trials ticket.

Not that she had much of a clue about all that.

"I don't know what it means. I don't follow the standings. Dave tells me where we're at."

She's going to like it when he tells her. It might end up meaning more than the bronze medal.

Twitter.com/sunterryjones


Photos