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LIVE BLOG: Cheryl Bernard settles for silver

Women’s curling final: Sweden 7, Canada 6


 

Cheryl Bernard certainly knows what’s at stake today. Win, and it’s gold for Canada in women’s curling. Lose, and it’s the bittersweet taste of silver. But just in case the skip does need a reminder, all she needs to do is look to her left (or her right, depending on which way she’s sliding). On the sheet at the far end of the arena, about twenty feet from where she’ll be battling for Olympic glory, is the medal podium. No matter what happens, Bernard will be standing there later tonight. On which step is the only question.

2:28 pm — Bernard and the rest of her rink have surfaced from the tunnel for their warm-up tosses, and the crowd certainly noticed. There is much applause and cow-bell tapping. It’s still more than 30 minutes before the gold-medal match, but the bleachers are filling up quickly—and each new arrival is trying hard to look more Canadian than everybody else. A simple hockey jersey just isn’t enough anymore. Ron Wolfe and Brad Hrycan, both from Saskatoon, are wearing red sweatpants, red and white wigs, Canadian flag capes, and maple-leaf shaped glasses. For the moment, they’ve taken off their red gloves. It’s easier to drink the beer that way.

3:03 pm — The bagpipers are finished belting, and the public address announcer is introducing the members of each rink. The roof nearly fell off when it was Bernard’s turn.

3:07 pm — Sweden goes first in end number one. The house is empty after six stones.

3:11 pm — Both rinks are trading hits and sticks. The famously raucous crowd is clearly on edge. Except for the odd “Let’s Go Canada,” there are some nervous faces inside the Vancouver Olympic Centre. Two shots to go, and here comes Bernard.

3:14 pm — If Bernard is nervous, she’s not showing it. Her first shot of the day was a nice hit and stick, leaving one Canadian stone in the house. But Swedish skip Norberg answered right back, completing the exact same shot.

3:16 pm — Bernard knocks the Swedes out of the circle, and herself too. Canada keeps the hammer, it’s 0-0 after the first end.

3:29 pm — Swedish second Eva Lund just made a beautiful shot, sneaking her stone past a Canadian guard and nudging it next to her opponents’ rock in the house. Canadian second Susan O’Connor couldn’t match the magic. Advantage Sweden.

3:31 pm — Bring on Bernard! She lands her rock on the edge of the four-foot circle, Norberg can’t squeeze her last past a guard, and Canada’s about to score.

3:33 pm — Big opportunity blown. With one rock already closest to the centre and the hammer in hand, Bernard failed to draw it into the circle. 1-0 Canada. Should be 2-0.

3:39 pm — Some background here: The Bernard bunch slaughtered the Swedes in round robin play. The victory was such a lopsided affair that Canadian alternate Kristie Moore, who is almost six months pregnant, saw action in the ninth end. Picture a college basketball blowout, when the bench-warming senior plays a few seconds of garbage time with his team up 35 points. Don’t think for a second the Swedish squad has forgotten that.

3:44 pm — If the Swedish squad loses, don’t be surprised if the skipper blames the crowd. As she set up for her first shot of the third end, more than one fan was yelling her name in that long, drawn-out kind of way. “Norrrrrr-berrrrrrg.” When Bernard’s up, it’s all hush-hush.

4:01 pm — Big shot coming up for Bernard. She has to squeeze her hammer through an army of Swede rocks or lose two more.

4:03 pm — Beauty! The shot, I mean. 2-2. (Should be 3-2 Canada, but I’ll stop saying that now. Unless it proves costly later.)

4:07 pm — Best heckle of the day so far from Canadian fans: “Jeepers, creepers, where’d you get those sweepers!? Jeepers, creepers, where’d you get those girls!?” Jeepers, creepers, where’s the beer guy?

4:14 pm — There’s a great moment in every end when Bernard, after inspecting the house, glides back to the other side of the sheet to delivery her shot. The crowd goes bananas. How she doesn’t slip is rather impressive.

4:16 pm — Drama time. Bernard just hit a beautiful draw into the house with her final rock, nicking the Swedish stone. But it’s not clear which one’s closer. Norberg then proceeded to draw the hammer closer than both of them. So it’s one point for sure for the Swedes. Maybe two. Here comes the measuring guy.

4:18 pm — The Swedish rock is a smidgen closer. You can tell because only the people with yellow and blue flags are cheering. Two huge points for Team Norberg, putting them up 4-2 with five ends to go. That podium suddenly looks much larger.

4:30 pm — A reader just asked a good question—proof positive that Olympic curling is attracting new fans (even if some of them are just tuning in to see Cheryl Bernard). In the first end, when Bernard used her hammer to knock out the Swedish stone, why didn’t she hit and stick so Canada scored a point? Answer: she would rather keep the hammer for the next end than score one measly single. See, if a team scores, they give up the hammer, and at this high level of curling, it’s pretty pointless to use the hammer to score just one. Better to keep it and try for more in the next end.

4:34 pm — Bernard just made a beautiful draw to the button, but Norberg didn’t waste any time knocking it out. The Swedes now have four stones in the house. Canada has none. Here comes Cheryl with the hammer.

4:38 pm — Bernard is really looking comfortable now. Avoiding a disaster, she curled her stone into the middle of house, knocked out the closest Swede, and stuck around for one. Sweden 4, Canada 3. Seventh end.

4:53 pm — The fans screamed “Shoot em up, Cheryl!” and “You can do it, Cheryl!” So she did it, knocking a Swedish stone from the four-foot circle and leaving three Canadian rocks all by themselves. Norberg ponders.

4:57 pm — What a seventh end! Norberg  silences the crowd with a gorgeous hit and stick, and then Bernard comes right back with her own, leaving two Canadian rocks in the four-foot. Norberg’s hammer falls short, and Canada steals two to take a 5-4 lead. A gold-medal match, indeed.

5:07 pm I had to get a beer. Everyone else is having one.

5:10 pm — The eighth end was a repeat of the first, except it was Norberg, not Bernard, clearing out the house. No points for either side. Sweden keeps the hammer heading into the second-last end. Oh, and someone topped the “jeepers, creepers” chant. As Bernard shot her final rock of the end, someone yelled: “Get in the hole!” Some other people thought it was funny.

5:26 pm — After the crowd urged each other to “Shhhh,” Bernard made a zinger, knocking out the Swedish rock in the house and leaving to Canadians behind. Norberg has the  hammer. Here it comes.

5:28 pm — Norberg was a little too hard. She knocked out one of Bernard’s rocks—but sent hers out, too. One Canadian stone left in the house equals one big steal. Canada 6, Sweden 4. Final end.

5:31 pm — “More cowbell!” someone screams. Cowbells ring.

5:35 pm — Ladies and gentlemen, the Bernard squad can taste it. We’re in the tenth end, the Canucks are up by two, and one fan just yelled: “I love you, Cheryl!” He’s not the only one.

5:38 pm — Bernard is about to take what should be her final two shots of the Olympics. The crowd went nuts, then dead quiet.

5:44 pm — Nice shot. Norberg knocked a Canadian stone out, put hers somewhat behind the guard, and left Bernard with a little work to do. Here we go.

5:43 pm — Bernard blew it. She couldn’t knock the yellow stone out, and Norberg hit and stuck for two. We’re tied at six going to extra ends.

5:52 pm — It goes without saying that the crowd is a tad deflated. The gold was there. If it’s any consolation, Bernard does have the hammer in the eleventh end.

6:01 pm — The Swedes just took a timeout to talk strategy. As they huddled with their coach, the crowd tried to be as noisy as possible. 

6:06 pm — Norberg just pulled off another gorgeous hit and stick, leaving Swedish stones in the four-foot circle. Bernard with the hammer. It all comes down to this. She needs to move both stones.

6:07 — Bernard couldn’t do it. Game over. Sweden Gold, Canada Silver.


 

LIVE BLOG: Cheryl Bernard settles for silver

  1. I don't have tv and neither CTV nor NBC wbsites will not activate for live broadcast. If you could write more frequent updates, it would be so great!

  2. question….why when one rock is left in the house from the opposing team and with your last rock you want to knock out there rock and yours?

    • because scoring only one is not that desirable. You want to score at least 2 to make it worth it. So when no one scores you keep the hammer, or last shot in the next end.

  3. Thanks so much for doing this, I'm at work and can't stream video.

  4. what's happening?

  5. After watching Cheryl Bernard choke in the extra end of curling, we are all, here, very disappointed. Norberg handed her the gold a few times in the game, including a perfect chance to win it in the eighth end, I believe. She couldn't even make the double in the end. Norber, I sure, would have. Is this the best we are sending to the olympics. If you can't take the heat, then get out of the kitchen. Is this where my support dollars are going. No More!!!!!!! My advice to Bernard is grab a broom and clean your house, cause you can't clean up in curling. Ver, very disappointing!!!!!

    • Have you ever played curling, out of curiosity, and tried to make a double? It's not as easy as you make it out to be. There were a lot of missed shots on both sides. Cheryl just unfortunately made the last 2. She still won silver, and she should be congratulated, not scorned.

  6. Dearest Cheryl Bernard,I was never a curling fan until you….you did not lose the gold,only the right to return in 2014!I am an American,and so very proud of you! Please take a break,return,regroup,and make the entire world become so proud of you again!! I believe in you,you are gold medal material!!!!!!!

  7. I don't get it. Our men and commentators know what to do but our Ladies curlers don't. We watched the semi final for the Ladies on Wednesday and Todays final and either they are playing to the TV or their stategy is faulty. All the taxpayers money spent with the belief that they are receiving coaching is hard to believe. Coaching should help make wise decisions to some regards. Either the poor choice of shots or the inability to perform important shots at anytime speaks volumes. It does not appear that it was a team effort, rather poor execution and implemention. It looks like it is more important to be the star rather than the winner. We saw today Cheryl can't do it. Can't draw, can't hit, can't finish. Her team will back her to the end. but in the end all the opportunities squandered late in the week cannot be replaced.

    • Hey there! Cheryl and her team made many great shots throughout the Round Robin and onward. The Men's team has an experienced skip having been to the Olympics before and let's face it, there is a lot of pressure on making the final shot to win a gold medal. I noticed that there was a bit of missed communication with the Women's team today and I would say that this may have been distracting. It looked like the women were playing just another game,maybe, rather than the Olympic final game that it was. Just observations, I think they did great! You can't expect gold when there are a few areas that are not working perfectly.

  8. What team where you watching? Cheryl's strength all this tournament was her draws. She had an iffy game against the Swiss because she was under the weather, and she was the only one keeping the team in the game and got them back into it when it looked bleak early.

    When you do some curling and you can make those shots, you can then legitimately complain. Otherwise, you've no idea how hard a game curling is to make shots.

  9. First off, congrats to the Canadian team…great effort! Just a generic question about the strategy when you're winning by two in the tenth end: regardless as to whether or not you have hammer, why not just peel every single shot the other team shoots? Lead starts off just throwing hers through the house, then just pick off every single opponent stone with a peel. Never leave any stone in play. By the time the opposing skip shoots her first, the leading skip just has to clear that stone with a simple peel (simple, because there won't be any other stones anywhere in play). The opposing skip wouldn't even get to shoot her last stone. Nothing easier in curling than a simple peel, especially when there's no traffic built up. The Canadian girls did amazing with their silver, but I was just puzzled by the 10th end. Please tell me why you wouldn't just peel every single stone?

    • 4 rock rule/free guard zone.

    • They couldn't have peeled the first two opposition stones, but I really think the critical error was not throwing their own first two through the house in that 10th end, the way Martin did. I was very baffled by that strategy. And for those who will ask … yes, I curl.

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  10. Cheryl you and your team make Canada very proud. Hold your head up high girlfriend you did good!

  11. i agree with bryan ,cheryl should be be fired for the last 2 ends what kind of moronic play was that.any clown could hve have taken the game down. 2 up and you let norberg tie.and then win!
    she should train her mind in tactics more …..and whats with you people ,she does this as a high level athlete. there is no room for basic…basic mistakes.they train this stuff daily.

  12. All you folks complaining of Mrs. Bernards performance, I've got one question for ya. Why were you not participating in the olympics? As good as ya'll are you should have just been given the gold before the games even got started. I don't care how good at anything, anyone is we all have bad days. She is no different . I never knew who she was till these olympics. I'll tell ya what I do know about her, she's only human. One more thing " if the good lord put all the stars in a clear night sky according her beauty, he ran out stars way too soon" and the rest of the canadian ladies curling team as well.

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