The curling competition for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is shaping up to be a very interesting event.
On the women’s side, the favorites for medals include 2013 World Champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland, the defending 2010 gold medal rink from Sweden, and 4 time world champion Jennifer Jones of Canada. Each of these rinks is experienced at top level competition, and I would be surprised if all of them did not make the playoffs.
Erica Brown’s US rink also has a chance to be a “dark horse” for a medal contender. Brown, together with third Debbie McCormick, bring extensive international curling experience. Since their rink formed a couple of years ago, they seem to have jelled, winning the US women’s championship in 2013. They were by far the best rink in the US Olympic play downs. If they can keep the momentum, it should be fun to follow their progress.
The men’s side seems harder to predict. The rink from Norway, together with their loud pants, looks to be a strong contender. The UK rink from Scotland, features former world champion David Murdoch teamed up with another Scottish champion rink of Tom Brewster. And you cannot count out the 2013 World Champions from Sweden.
Canada’s rep will be the Brad Jacob’s foursome from Sault Ste. Marie, ON. This rink is the new face of curling in Canada. They are all young, with 3 members in their 20s. They all look like athletes, with their bulging biceps obviously a product of extensive gym work. They won the 2013 Canadian Brier, and went undefeated at the Olympic trials, knocking off some of the established older power rinks of Howard, Martin & Stoughton. They employ an aggressive style, and are not afraid to go after high reward shots. They are exciting to watch, and should medal if they keep up their momentum.
The US men’s rink of John Shuster had a longer road to qualify for the Olympics. They won the US Olympic Trials in November with a couple of close games with former champion Pete Fenson. Since the US has done so poorly in recent world championships, they had to play in a qualifying bonspiel in Germany in December. They were able to get one of the two Olympic spots by knocking off the Czech Republic in a close game.
Shuster’s rink is a hard one to predict. At times, they are very sharp, making some incredible shots. At other times, even during the same game, they can miss easy shots – almost like us mortals!! If they get hot during the Olympics, they could surprise. Hopefully, it will not be a repeat of the 2010 Olympics, where Shuster’s team fell apart, and there were rumors of dissension in the ranks.
My fearless picks for gold medals:
- Women: Eve Muirhead, Scotland
- Men: Brad Jacobs, Canada
The US television coverage will be excellent for these Olympics. NBC provides the Olympic coverage this year, and their stations NBC Sports, MSNBC, CNBC and the USA Network will provide over 40 hours of curling coverage, running Feb. 10 through Feb. 21. There will be live coverage, as well as some tape delayed. The finals for both men’s and women’s will be aired live. Keep in mind the Sochi is 9 hours ahead of Austin, so we may be watching it live in the wee hours or fire up your DVR.
As an anecdote, for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, curling became something of a cult sport for viewership. It has been written that the curling coverage had the highest viewer totals of any of the Olympic sports in 2010. Hopefully, NBC is aware of this and will give us curling addicts lots of great coverage. I also hope they stop the annoying habit of commercial breaks in the midst of an end, as was their habit during the Olympic Trial coverage.
At long last, Sochi has arrived. And with it, an international stage offering up the best in winter sport and world class competition. That, of course, includes the sport of curling and I couldn’t be happier – for several reasons.
First, there will be over 120 hours of curling coverage starting on Monday, Feb. 10 and finishing with the final gold medal match on Friday, Feb. 21. For us curling fanatics, we can’t wait. For those who just enjoy watching the matches, it provides many opportunities to see the 10 men and 10 women’s teams compete. Once again, curling will be one of the most watched sports at the Olympics.
Second, every four years, the Winter Games calls attention to our sport in a big way. That international exposure trickles down to places like Austin and the Lone Star Curling Club. Just in the last few weeks, we’ve done a morning segment on KEYE, had a great article in Austin Monthly, clarified some misconceptions about the sport on the Jeff Ward show on KLBJ, and did an extended interview on KAZI radio, with more to come.
Finally, the Olympics mean new interest in the sport in Austin and new members signing up to curl. Four years ago, nearly 1,000 people showed up over two weekends to learn the sport and the club was overwhelmed; many people never got the chance to give it a try. This time around, we’ll be ready. We’re signing up folks in advance to guarantee that they have a spot and can really learn the game. The 90-minutes will include 30 minutes of off-ice instruction and 60 minutes of USCA training on-ice.
For me, the best part is seeing new curlers embrace the sport and having an ‘aha!’ moment while on the ice. This sport can be addictive and many of you will soon discover that. I can’t wait!
The Austin Monthly magazine had an article featuring the Lone Star Curling Club. Pat and Buck were both interviewed for the article. They also came out on one of our league mornings and took a bunch of photos.
We are thrilled to announce that we have access to some discounted tickets to the February 1st game against the Toronto Marlies at 7:00 p.m.. Not only do we get to watch some great hockey we are also able to promote the sport of curling. We will have a booth at the game where we will be able to talk curling and promote our upcoming Olympic Learn-To-Curl event that happens the following weekends.
If you don’t have your tickets yet, please contact Darlene Barnes who can help you with the order.
Chaparral Ice had KEYE TV come to the rink last week to show the public all of the winter activities that takes place at the rink. First up was the Lone Star Curling Club. Pat, Joe and Landon all came into the rink before 5 a.m. to promote the club and our upcoming Olympic Learn-To-Curl events in February.
Thanks a lot Pat, Joe and Landon!
During the 2010 Winter Olympics, television viewers watched more curling than any other sport. Why is curling so popular? Because it’s fun, competitive, challenging and anyone can do it. The Lone Star Curling Club invites you to come visit us on anytime we are curling.
The Lone Star Curling Club was founded in 2006, in Austin, Texas and is an affiliate of the United States Curling Association. We welcome anyone who wants to learn more about curling and encourage you to contact our club to find out more about this great sport. Regardless of age, whether you’re 16 or 86, curling is for everyone and previous curling experience is not required in order to participate.
If you’re interested in joining the Lone Star Curling Club, please contact our membership director, Darlene Barnes for more information.
Interested In Curling?
Check out the information on the Go Curl part of our website or better yet, come see it first hand.
Curling is for the Family!
Here is a great video about a Canadian family making the decision to have 2 of their kids curl instead of playing hockey. Although curling is big in Canada, hockey is even more popular but maybe it shouldn’t be!
It is almost that time of year again when we begin our fall league. The fall league begins one month from the day I write this.
Curling will be on Sunday mornings from 10:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. This is a delay of one hour from our previous start time and hopefully everyone enjoys the extra hour of sleep!
Full-time curlers will pay $23 per game which is an increase of $1 per game. The season will still be 9 regular games and 1 playoff game. Spares will pay $25 per game. Both must pay the $55 membership fee. The membership fee is good for one year.
We are trying to make the teams more competitive which means we are encouraging the top teams to split up. We understand the social aspects of our league and that people like playing with family/friends and we’ll accommodate those requests as much as possible.
The first thing we need everyone to do is to fill out the fall 2013 survey. Please fill this out as soon as you know your curling status for the fall season. This allows us to start forming teams.
As usual we will have one practice session on September 8, 2013. This will be everyone’s final opportunity to practice before league play starts the following week. The practice will cost $25.
The 10-week league will begin on September 15, 2013:
- September 15, 22, 29
- October 6, 13, 20, 27
- November 3, 10, 17
The fall season will cost $230 plus the $55 membership fee.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone again next month!
President Lone Star Curling Club
p.s. We still have one chance to curl in the summer. We will be curling on Friday, August 16 at 9:45 p.m..
How do you improve Summer Curling? You make it happen on a Friday night. Bring your friends and family out on Friday August 16th at 9:00 p.m..
If you have never curled this is the perfect opportunity for you, your friends and family to get on the ice on a hot summer evening and learn the game. You will get USCA-certified instruction, access to equipment as well a free Learn-To-Curl shirt (picture left).
You will get 30 minutes instructions off the ice learning the basics. You will then get almost 2 hours of instruction on the ice where you will learn how to throw a rock as well as how to sweep. Sounds easy? Curling is easy to learn but very difficult to perfect!
If you already curl, this is the opportunity for everyone to practice your skills. You can either play in some practice games or focus your time on improving shot making. This is the one time of year when we have the ability to practice so don’t miss out!
If you have questions send an email to our membership director Darlene Barnes .