Today's Curling News

And it's not good. The Kiwis led Switzerland 5-4 after six ends, and were tied 5-5 after the seventh with the Hammer. A very strong position to be in. But the Swiss stole three points in the eighth after Kiwi skip Sean Becker missed a difficult draw, whatever that means, and the Kiwis fell 9-7.

The Kiwis are now 0-5. They are the only men's team, of 10, that has yet to win. Tomorrow is absolutely crucial, a meeting with Italian cowboy hat-wearing, tobacco-chewing hipster Joel Retornaz, who was assumed to be the weakling of the field. I have no idea whom to root for.

Retornaz could actually become the story of the curling rink tomorrow. I've been remiss in not discussing yesterday's shocking win over the U.S., which has the Italians in a group of five teams competing for the final two playoff spots. (And check it out, a photo of cowboy hat-wearing, tobacco-chewing hipster Joel, with collar fashionably turned up, ran in today's Post.) Granted, the schedule is not good, but tomorrow morning Italy plays the defending gold medalist Norwegians before facing the Kiwis in the nightcap. If they can somehow get to 4-2, look out. This will be a George Washington basketball situation: international media exposure, SportsCenter highlights, groupies, coaching rumors (Retornaz to Missouri?) The place will be rocking, that's for sure, and no pun intended. I can't think of anyplace I'd rather be.

As for the women, the U.S. rink is in trouble, despite the earnest admiration of so many of my readers. This from a press release late tonight:

U.S. women fall to Sweden on last rock. The last rock by Cassie Johnson (Bemidji, Minn.) in the extra end picked up a fleck of dirt or a frosty patch of ice and went off course right out of her hands as she went in for the winning draw against Sweden's Anette Norberg rink Thursday night, resulting in a 5-4 loss in the 11th end.

The loss sets the Americans back at 1-4 and means the team must now win its remaining games and then hope for a tiebreaker scenario to make the semifinals.

Yikes. Ruined by a fleck of dirt? In a sport that relies on brooms? What gives? Still, I'll be out there for tomorrow's meeting with Mother Russia.

Oh, and stop e-mailing me about Benshoof. Yes, he was fourth in the men's luge. Meghan Gilsenan wins the pin.

By Dan Steinberg |  February 16, 2006; 4:35 PM ET
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Yikes! Things are looking dismal for the U.S. curling girls, & the men ain't doing so well either. The sport is definately addictive but with the Kiwis essentially out & U.S. on the ropes will I have to pull for Joel mit der mullet? What does Les Carpenter think? What does he think of the dirt/broom conumdrum?

Posted by: moenad | February 17, 2006 12:19 AM

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