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Great Scot, no gold for Jones

Team Canada's solid play proves elusive in playoffs

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SWIFT CURRENT — What in the worlds happened?


Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones, who dominated the 2010 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship all week, lost 10-4 to Scotland’s Eve Muirhead Saturday night, and the home team will now have to settle for bronze at best today (11 a.m./TSN) against Sweden.
Jones was 10-1 in the 12-team round robin before losing consecutive games; the first to Germany’s Andrea Schopp in the Page 1-2 game, then Saturday to Muirhead’s foursome from the Perth Curling Club.


So now it’s Schopp vs. Muirhead today for the gold (4 p.m./TSN).


"It just wasn’t our day," shrugged Jones, who has one worlds gold (2008) now in four trips to the championship. "We just couldn’t get our rocks in the right spot and they (the Scots) played very well. It’s very disappointing."


It was an ideal start for Jones, too, who put up a deuce in the first end and appeared on the verge of stealing another pair when Muirhead made a critical raise double for a single point. With the teams locked 3-3 after four ends, the Scottish teenager put up a three in five, then stole another three in seven to seal the victory.


"I had draw weight all week and all of a sudden it changed a little bit," Jones lamented. "The ice was great. We just didn’t pick up on the speed and that’s our own fault."


Asked how she could be so dominant during the round robin — Jones curled 85 per cent in the round robin and a woeful 59 per cent in the semis — and come up short in the playoffs, she replied: "I don’t know. I wish we knew. Just not meant to be. We got outplayed. We had a bad game. It happens."


The Scottish team, meanwhile, curled 84 per cent in earning their first-ever victory over Jones.


"We finally got a win over her and I suppose it’s where it matters, at the world championships," Muirhead noted. "I’m really delighted. I don’t know if it’s actually sunk in yet, to be honest."


Although Muirhead is only competing in her second worlds, she’s an up-and-coming curling force who won three consecutive world junior titles (2007-2009) and recently represented Great Britain at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, finishing a disappointing 3-6.

Germany’s Schopp, meanwhile, is participating in her 17th championship — which she considers more prestigious than the Olympics.


"The whole season I was looking forward to this event," Schopp said. "I know I’m not normal, maybe I’m a little bit crazy or different, but that’s the way I’m feeling. For me, the feeling of the Olympics is different. (The worlds) is an event they play just for you. You are the main sport. You are (who) everything is all about. At the Olympics, especially as a curler, you’re in the background."


Schopp has a worlds title, but that was way back in 1988. She hasn’t been to a final since. Today will mark Muirhead’s first trip to the worlds final.


"She’s so experienced," Muirhead said of Schopp. "She has such a fantastic past and she’s won so many medals. It’s going to be a good game and it’s going to be tough. We’ve just got to go out there and stay focused like we have been for the last few wins."


As for Jones, when it was suggested Canadian teams in hockey and curling don’t play well in bronze-medal games, she replied, "Hopefully, we’ll change that."
 

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While attending Boissevain High School in the late 1970’s, Randy Turner one day read an account of a Winnipeg Jets game in the Free Press when it dawned on him: "Really, you can get paid to watch sports?"

Turner later graduated with a spectacularly mediocre 2.3 GPA from Red River Community College’s Creative Communications program. 

After jobs at the Stonewall Argus and Selkirk Journal, he began working on the Rural page for the Free Press in 1987. Several years later, he realized his dream of watching sports for a living covering the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Bombers.

In 2001, Turner became a general sports columnist, where he watched Canada win its first Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey in 50 years at Salt Lake, then watched them win again in Vancouver in 2010.

He also watched everything from high school hockey and volleyball championship to several Grey Cups, NHL finals and World Junior hockey tournaments.

In the fall of 2011, Turner became a general features writer for the paper. But he still watches way too much sports.

Turner has been nominated for three National Newspaper Awards in sports writing.

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