It has a real 'ring' to it

HALIFAX -- Christine Keshen had just become an Olympian when she was rushed off to take her first Olympic drug-testing tinkle.

"I didn't do very well,'' she reported. "I peed all over my hands.''

Hey, an Olympic moment is an Olympic moment.

It'll be a long time before Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink, her skip, forgets her Olympic moment. It was much more traditional.

For eight years, Kleibrink watched that video of Sandra Schmirler making that shot which kept her out of the Nagano Olympics. For eight years she watched the celebration which followed. Again and again and again.

Yesterday she created her own.

Kleibrink lost the first 'Roar of the Rings' Olympic Trials by watching Schmirler the Curler make perhaps the greatest shot in the history of women's curling, a shot for three that she turned into Canada's only Olympic curling gold medal two months later.

Here, yesterday, it was Kleibrink making the shot for three.

All game neither she nor Kelly Scott of Kelowna gave the photographers a single freeze frame of body language or emotion.

Pent-up emotion

But when Kleibrink made the draw for three on the final end to win by one, it was like eight years of pent-up emotion exploded out of her body at once.

Down on her left knee, watching Amy Scott screaming for Christine Keshen and Glenys Bakker to sweep as hard as they've ever swept in their lives, Kleibrink suddenly knew it was going to be good for an 8-7 win and a trip to Torino.

First, she threw her arms in the air. Then suddenly she rocketed off the knee toward the roof, airborne but for the tip of a toe, and out of control with excitement.

"It wasn't a great shot like Sandra's. It was pretty tight. They had to sweep it all the way,'' said Kleibrink.

"Just hearing us introduced as Canada's Olympic team ... I was trying not to cry,'' she said of how she felt moments later.

This was a team, understand, which had never won anything before, unless you count a Canada Cup cashspeil.

"If there was ever a game to win, this is the one,'' said Kleibrink.

A team in trouble

Going to the 10th end, they were in trouble.

"I said, 'Girls, we've had lots of three-enders this week. We need one more,' ''

One miss by Scott's lead Renee Simons and Bakker made the shot to set it up.

"I'm happiest for Glenys. She's the one with the new baby,'' said the 37-year-old skip of the 43-year-old mother of four-month old Sara, who breastfed the baby at the fifth end breaks throughout the event.

Third Amy Nixon danced a two-step with her dad Daryl during the fifth-end break yesterday to relieve the pressure, then thought of her mom Bonnie when it was over.

"I remembered curling in a provincials in Calgary and then flying right after a game to Edmonton to the hospital where my mom was in the operating room, having her second brain surgery,'' she said of her trying time for her family, who lives in the Edmonton suburb of St. Albert.

Her mom survived to see this day.

Her husband had to watch on TV.

Here for the start

"He was here for the start of the event. It's sure a good thing he left. We were 1-3 when he left,'' said the third, who is articling with a law firm. "How many people in the world can say 'I'm an Olympian?' ''

Keshen said she couldn't help but think of the flip side of it.

"If we'd lost that ... I didn't want to feel like my life had ended.''

Everybody seemed happiest for Bakker.

"It was her last go at it,'' said lead Keshen.

Bakker was delighted they allowed her to take the baby on the podium.

"She won't remember this. But there are pictures,'' she said, adding that Sara won't be with her in the Olympic village two months from now.

"She was a big part of this for me. She was a great distraction. I'd go back to the hotel and watch her kick and play with her.''

Asked who she was happiest for, she said "Me! I'm the oldest one on the team. I couldn't have waited another eight years.''

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