Bernard enjoying beginner's luck

By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — Back when these Game began, there was a worry.

Had the rest of the world’s women’s curling rinks caught up to Canada? China won the last world championships, and Canada had only bronze medals to show for the last two Olympics.

Plus, our nation was sending Calgary’s Cheryl Bernard — who had no previous international experience — to try get the job done and win gold.

Well, so far, so good. All they’ve done is win.

Bernard, Susan O’Connor, Carolyn Darbyshire and Cori Bartel were 5-0 and the only remaining undefeated team in the round-robin to start the day here Sunday.

It wasn’t necessarily supposed to work this way.

At an Olympics where Canada has been coming up short in event after event after a successful first four days, the Canadian women’s curlers are tracking toward being a not having to be a ‘say-they’re-sorry’ story.

“I think the pride with us right now is that, while we did have the lack of experience, we’re getting it pretty quickly,” laughed Bernard, who needed to make her last rock shots in the 10th end in her first two games, and needed extra ends to win her next two games.

She got off easy — and early — here Sunday, scoring a 9-2 win over choking-back-tears Debbie McCormick in a game conceded after the seventh end.

“For us the pride is that we’re dealing with it and everything that surrounds it,” said Bernard. “This team has just handled it amazingly well, so far.

“A big part of it is that you realize you’re playing for your country and that’s just another thing on top of it that makes you feel pretty great.”

A bigger part, said second Darbyshire, is that they brought the same attitude to Vancouver 2010 which they took to the Roar of the Rings Olympic curling trails in Edmonton back in December.

“We just come out and play our best,” she said. “If we do well here, or don’t do well here, each one of us is going to go home and be the same person. That’s the attitude we took to the trials and we’ve brought it here with us. We just want to curl.”

“We didn’t listen to what everybody was saying,” added O’Connor. “We knew we were prepared. We believed in ourselves. And we came here to enjoy the experience and to go out there and curl well. So far, we’ve been able to do both. But there’s a lot of curling to go yet and we’re not going to get ahead of

ourselves now either.”

You’d think these Canadian women would be getting giddy or, at least, a lot more cognizant of what they’ve accomplished to this point.

But they’re not.

“I’m not looking at the standings. I have no idea who is up there or not,” said Darbyshire. “On our off day, I didn’t even watch curling.

What the start means, said Bernard, is that they’ve been able to build confidence at the same time they’ve been able to adapt to the environment. And to get used to being Canada at an Olympic Winter Games in Canada.

“To be Canada, that’s great,” said Bernard. “I don’t know that there’s probably anything better than what I’ve ever experienced in curling or ever will experience in curling. We’re very lucky and it feels really great to be doing it this way.”

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

POLL