Sweden wins 2nd straight gold medal, beating Canada in women’s curling on Norberg’s last shotBy Janie Mccauley, AP
Friday, February 26, 2010
Sweden wins 2nd straight gold in women’s curling
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Anette Norberg put her hands to her face and let loose with a joyous whoop. She embraced her teammates and raised her right arm.
Same foursome, same result: gold.
Norberg and her Swedish “sisters” played through the din of a cowbell-clanging crowd Friday, going the distance in defending their title from Turin four years ago. They beat Cheryl Bernard’s Canadian team 7-6 in an extra 11th end to spoil the party for the host country.
Bernard leaned on her broom as she watched Norberg’s final offering settle right on target, then scurried down the ice to try to save the day just one more time. But Bernard’s best attempt to bump Norberg’s rock a little further away fell short, the crowd hanging on her shot and then turning silent.
“It’ll be one of those shots I won’t forget,” Bernard said.
Added Sweden second Cathrine Lindahl, Norberg’s younger sister: “It felt like an easy shot for her, so we just said, ‘Oh, silver is good, anyway.’ Then we got the gold. Unbelievable.”
Now it will be up to Kevin Martin and his unbeaten Canadian team to capture gold in the country’s No. 2 sport behind hockey when it faces Norway on Saturday.
Eva Lund and Anna Le Moine clasped hands and leaned down to kiss that cooperative stone that stayed put closest to the button.
All tournament, Bernard had been a sure thing with her last rock. And she had nearly all of the sellout crowd of 5,600 at Vancouver Olympic Center willing her to do it again. Even across town at Canada Hockey Place, those waiting for the country’s semifinal with Slovakia watched and cheered before the deflating finish.
Norberg took out one Canadian stone to score two in the 10th and tie it, forcing one more end.
The Swedish skip describes her on-ice demeanor as being in a “bubble,” with a laser focus and stone-faced stare even her teammates often can’t penetrate. It sure worked for her again.
Sweden — with a pair of sisters and another player who’s married to the coach — sent the same starting lineup to Vancouver for another memorable Winter Olympics, and Norberg’s team delivered with gold after losing to Canada 6-2 in round-robin play.
Sweden scored two points on an official measurement in the fifth, getting closer to the innermost scoring circle by less than a quarter-inch in a game that turned into a duel.
Norberg — who like Bernard is 43 — played through the racket with the cool of someone who had been there so many times before. Bernard’s international experience pales beside that of Norberg and her list of accomplishments in world championships and competitions around the globe.
The Canadians ran through round-robin play at 8-1, their lone loss coming to world champion and bronze medalist China.
But even with the support of a madly cheering crowd, Canada was considered the underdog in the final against a squad featuring three women who have played together for more than 14 years. Aside from Norberg and Lindahl, Le Moine and alternate Kajsa Bergstroem also are sisters. Lund is married to the coach, Stefan Lund.
All of that proved too much for Bernard’s close-knit bunch from Calgary, a relatively unknown team outside Canada before this run. And then it came down to a moment.
“Finish this, Cheryl!” one man yelled.
Not this time.
Tags: British Columbia, Canada, Curling, Europe, North America, Sports, Sports Names, Sweden, Vancouver, Western Europe, Winter Olympic Games, Winter olympics, Women's Sports