Home > Uncategorized > Inching away from Gold…

Inching away from Gold…

In the words of the late, great Jim McKay… the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Yesterday in the women’s curling final both were on display. Canadian skip Cheryl Bernard and her team had curled a tremendous game, stealing a deuce to take the lead in the 7th and a single in 8th for the two point advantage. In the tenth, Bernard’s team put her in position to win. They cleared all the Swedish rocks out, leaving only their own in the house.

It was all there for Bernard. Two stones to win. Sweden had the hammer, but Cheryl was positioned to keep the Swedes to the single, solitary, lonely point. Throughout this tournament, this is what Cheryl has wanted. The stone in her hand with the opportunity to win. For two weeks she had proven herself woman enough to stick each decisive shot. She had proven herself mighty.

It was a relatively simple shot. Hit the Swedish rock out the back and the gold was Canada’s. Cheryl threw. The line looked good, and as the camera held on her face, the slightest smile appeared. There it was, just a hint around her lips, the thrill of impending victory. The Vancouver Olympic Center was ready to explode.

But sports are funny and sometimes cruel. Despite looking good the whole way, the rock just didn’t quite curl enough at the end. When it hit the Swedish stone, instead of rolling out the back end, it struck a Canadian rock and stuck. Swedish skip Annita Norberg had a dead on hit for two to tie and she didn’t make a mistake. Inches, inches from victory.

How cruel then that with the Hammer in the eleventh it would come down to another shot for Cheryl. Another shot at gold. A slightly harder shot, but still a shot that Cheryl surely hits nine out of ten times… maybe even ninety-five out of a hundred. This time there was no hint of a smile. Despite the imploring shouts of Canadian third Susan O’Connor, the rock came down the ice too straight and as it struck there was no doubt.

Inches, mere inches away from the sun shining bright; from the band playing; from the thousands of hearts in the Olympic center being light; women laughing and children shouting, but there was no joy in Mudville – mighty Cheryl had struck out.

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