WINNIPEG — Switzerland's Olympic women's curling team got a rude welcome to Winnipeg last night when their rental van was broken into and some equipment stolen.
"I heard this happens quite a lot in Winnipeg," Mirjam Ott, 38, the skip of the Swiss women's team, said this morning. "I feel sad that someone would do that. What they took, they probably can't use."
Ott and her curling team had just left the MTS centre, where Switzerland's men Olympic team lost an exhibition nail-baiter to Belarus, 2-1 in OT. They had parked closed to the hockey rink, in an Impark parking lot.
Luckily for the team, Ott said the only items stolen was a GPS navigation system and -- not so lucky for Ott, her Swiss Olympic team backpack which contained her Swiss team pants, shirts, jacket, shoes and mitts.
Ott said she believes she can have new team clothes forwarded to her in Vancouver. Shoes supplier New Balance will replace the stolen shoes, she said, but not likely in time for the start of the curling events Feb. 16 and she'll probably have to borrow shoes from her team's alternate, Irena Schora. "We wear the same size shoes."
Ott said the team filed a report with Winnipeg police Tuesday night and they're back on a curling rink today in Gimli practising.
This isn't the first time Ott has been victimized by Canadian thieves. While playing in Vernon, B.C., three years ago, Ott said her hotel room was broken into and thieves made off with some cash.
"We're happy that they didn't take anything more, like credit cards but this does make me angry."
Ott said she can't imagine any Winnipeg car thief making use of her stolen gear, believing they will likely toss it once they learn what they've stolen.
However, Ott said it's the official Swiss Olympic team backpack that she misses the most, though.
"I can probably get a new one but maybe someone will find (the one that was stolen) and they'll send it to me. That would be great."
VIDEO: Swiss skip Mirjam Ott explains what happened: