Canadian spare brings a little extra something to the ice

Robin
Robin Short
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OLYMPICS/WOMEN'S CURLING

Prior to the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, it was decided amongst the powers that be curling's alternate players - or fifths - would receive medals.

Kristie Moore will need two.

There have been other women to compete in the Olympic Games while pregnant - a German skeleton racer competed in Torino - but Moore will almost certainly be the first expectant mother to curl 100 per cent in the Olympics.

Kristie Moore (left), the alternate on the Canadian Olympic women's curling team, is more than five months pregnant. Photo by The Canadian Press

Vancouver -

Prior to the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, it was decided amongst the powers that be curling's alternate players - or fifths - would receive medals.



Kristie Moore will need two.



There have been other women to compete in the Olympic Games while pregnant - a German skeleton racer competed in Torino - but Moore will almost certainly be the first expectant mother to curl 100 per cent in the Olympics.



With Canada's Cheryl Bernard holding a comfortable 6-2 lead Monday against reigning Olympic champ Annette Norberg of Sweden, the Calgary-based rink opted to get Moore, all five and a half months pregnant, into the game for lead Cori Bartel.



So now the question will be whether Moore and boyfriend Shane Wray name the tyke Cori or Corey (they still don't know the baby's sex).



"Oh, I don't know," giggled Moore. "The girls have been talking a lot of different names, something geared around curling and the Olympics. Rock is one name that came up."



Bernard and Co. were rock-solid in beating Norberg 6-2 to take over sole possession of first place at 6-1. The win also guarantees the team, which also includes third Susan O'Connor and second Carolyn Darbyshire, a semifinal berth.



Two more wins and Canada gets its first women's curling gold since Sandra Schmirler in 1998.



After the game however, all the talk was about Moore, the 30-year-old partner in a bar and restaurant in Grande Prairie, Alta.



But to the curlers, it was nothing special.



"I played pregnant in 2001," said Darbyshire. "It's no big deal. You're not dead."



Norberg recalls curling the Swedish final a "few, few" years ago while eighth months pregnant.



"Any mother who has curled, has curled pregnant," O'Connor added. "For a curler, it's not that big a deal."



It's certainly no big deal to Moore, who still works out three to four times a week when she's not curling. If there is a difference, it takes her a bit longer to catch her breath after sweeping, "because when any woman is pregnant, their heart rate pumps twice as fast as it normally does.



"And I suppose when I sit in the hack, I have to squat a little differently, not so ladylike anymore."



Monday's win was a refreshing change for the Bernard team that's been gutting out wins all week. Their opening two decisions against Switzerland and Japan went to last rock, and Canada needed extra ends to beat Germany and Denmark. Their only loss, a 6-5 decision to China Sunday night, also came in an extra end.



Holding hammer, Canada scored two in the second end after blanking the first. Norberg, who also owns a pair of world championships and seven European titles, was off her game in the third and fourth ends when she was heavy on her final shot both times, both routine draws.



Four zilch Canada and for all intents and purposes, game over.



"We expected to go 10 or 11 ends, as usual," Bernard said. "We haven't seen the last of them."



Not to be outdone, Bernard joins Canadian and Alberta counterpart Kevin Martin atop the leaderboard. Martin, from Edmonton, and his team of John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert defeated the United States 7-2 to improve to 8-0 and secure a semifinal berth.



If there was a knock on Bernard entering these Olympics, it was she lacked international experience. Bernard, in fact, has never won a Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women's championship.



But as she said Monday, that monkey's been flung off her back.



"We've got it now," she said, "on the biggest stage.



"That said, we're really going to go back to what we did at the Trials. One shot at a time. I think for us, it's not international experience, it's probably going to be Olympic experience and thinking about medals. We haven't really honestly thought much about medals. We thought about playoff spots.



"Trying to not think about medals will be the toughest part."



As for Moore, she's going to enjoy the rest of the Olympic Games on the coach's bench, doing the regular duties of a fifth player.



But surely she won't have to carry the broom bag, will she?



"Oh yeah," she laughed, "they still make me carry it. But it's not too bad because ours has wheels."



rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Olympic Games, Trials

Geographic location: Canada, Torino, Vancouver Sweden Grande Prairie Switzerland Japan Germany Denmark China Alberta Edmonton

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