February 24, 2006

THE HAMMER HURT 'EM:

Curling: U.S. tops Great Britain for bronze medal (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/24/06)

[T]he United States defeated Great Britain to win the bronze medal.

It meant that Pizza Pete Fenson of Minnesota will bring home a slice of the Olympics — the first U.S. curling medal ever.

The American men based in Bemidji, Minn., won the bronze by beating Britain 8-6 on Friday in the consolation game, jumping to an early lead and then clinching the victory with a simple draw to the middle of the target in the final end. That put the United States on the medal stand along with more traditional curling powers Finland and Canada.

Fenson, a Minnesota pizzeria owner, broke into a smile and gave a salute with his broom as his last shot settled into the scoring area. But the victory was especially emotional for teammate Shawn Rojeski; it was the second anniversary of his mother's death.

"I knew it was going to be an extremely difficult day for me today," Rojeski said. "This team is extremely satisfied with the way they played today — and for myself, it's that much of a better moment, for sure."

In addition to being shut out at the three previous Olympics where curling was a medal sport, the American men hadn't medaled at the world championships since 1978.

"Everybody was not expecting us to do well here," Rojeski said. "But we were pretty confident coming in that we could be contenders. We were definitely OK with coming in here and not being the No. 1 favorites."

Britain was shut out of a medal one Olympics after Scottish housewife Rhona Martin threw the "Stone of Destiny" to win the gold medal in Salt Lake City. David Murdoch's team is also from Scotland, which is considered the birthplace of curling.

"It's massively disappointing," Murdoch said.

With the Americans holding the big last-rock advantage known as the hammer for the final end, or inning, they played defensively and kept the British from building any protection. Murdoch had one rock in the target area, and he put his last rock out front as a guard.

But Fenson had an open draw around the right to get inside of Murdoch's rock and give the U.S. the bronze.


That Swedish chick last night came up big too, huh?


Posted by Orrin Judd at February 24, 2006 2:50 PM
Comments

Wow! Shizuka Arakawa sure doesn't sound like a Swedish name. Not a blond, either, if I'm not mistaken.

Posted by: Rick T. at February 24, 2006 3:26 PM

It's all because the pope didn't include curling in his blessing of the olympic games. Imagine that, a nation the world doesn't understand gets a medal in a game B16 doesn't understand.

Posted by: Jayson at February 24, 2006 4:46 PM

I haven't seen it but supposedly the nude Women of Curling Calender has been the highlight of the Olympics.

Posted by: AWW at February 24, 2006 4:50 PM

The Swedish team is 62% hottie.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2006 5:14 PM

That photo is yummy.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 24, 2006 6:09 PM

Rick, You may not be old enough to remember, but they used to show curling on Channel 9 on Sunday mornings, way back when. Flash Gordon was more fun, though. (Maybe Channel 7).

Posted by: jdkelly at February 24, 2006 6:32 PM

PBS used to show it on winter weekends.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2006 6:41 PM

My 1st exposure to curling came via Channel 9 out of Windsor, Ontario.

Posted by: Dave W at February 24, 2006 10:34 PM

Curling is about the only event to come out a big winner in terms of TV audience and air time during these Olympics. The fact that NBC hasn't glutted the telecasts with their usual sappy featurettes about the competitors also has been a major asset to the telecasts.

Posted by: John at February 25, 2006 12:36 AM

Curling doesn't seem to appeal to the kind of athletes the media like. No dark brooding semi-bearded anti-hero iconoclasts yearning only to live free and be one with the mountain seem to have taken up curling. When they do, the media will be all over them.

Posted by: erp at February 25, 2006 10:58 AM

So where's the link to the calendar. I love curling.

Posted by: Genecis at February 25, 2006 12:26 PM
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