Canadian women curl up with silver

By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency


Canada's skip Cheryl Bernard shouts instructions as Cori Bartel and Carolyn Darbyshire sweep into the house during the Gold medal match against Sweden. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

VANCOUVER ó Here, you take it, I donít want it.

No, you take it, I donít want it.

It was that kind of excruciating gold medal game in womenís curling here Friday. In the end, though, Sweden took it and the late Sandra Schmirler remains the only female curler to skip a Canadian team to Olympic gold.

While they were guaranteed to upgrade on the bronze medals won by Kelley Law and Shannon Kleibrink in the last two Games, Cheryl Bernardís Calgary crew could have struck gold Friday.

Instead, Anette Norberg of Sweden won her second-straight Olympic gold. Norberg, who also won silver at Calgary Ď88 when curling was a demonstration sport, skipped a team that really hadnít accomplished much since winning gold in Turin.

Two divorces and two babies were the cause of that.

She gave Bernard one excellent opportunity in the second end, and when she failed to seize the moment, squeezed the life out of the crew of Susan OíConnor, Carolyn Darbyshire and Cori Bartel the rest of the way.

Bernard, after blanking the first with the hammer, had a free draw for two and came up short to settle for one in the second end.

Then the situation was reversed: Norberg had a shot for two the next end and made it.

Forced to take one in the fourth, Bernard was now chasing the game. And when Norberg won a measurement to score two in the fifth to make it 4-2, the fans thought they could figure out how this one was going to turn out.

The building, which had been among the noisiest at the Olympics, became depressingly quiet. Bernard had to make a pressure shot just to get her one facing four Swedish stones in the sixth.

But then it was Norbergís turn to come up short. Way short. And way expensive. It cost her a steal of two and gave Canada a 5-4 lead after seven.

A blank in eight and Norberg missed on an attempted double takeout to give Canada a steal of two more and a 6-4 lead heading home.

All Bernard had to do was complete a simple hit to run her out of rocks but missed it, leaving Norberg a hit for two and a 6-6 tie to send the game to extra ends.

Bernard missed a double takeout for the win to leave it 7-6 for Sweden.

Earlier in the day, Bingju Wangís world championship team from China scored a 12-6 win over two-time silver medallist Mirjam Ott of Switzerland.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

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