Switzerland wins world women’s curling title
Switzerland’s 40-year-old Mirjam Ott, the most experienced skip in the 12-team field, executed a clutch tap-and-roll in the four-foot ring with the game’s last shot to score two points and defeat Sweden 7-6 in Sunday’s Ford World Women’s Curling Championship final match.
It marked only the third World women’s victory for the Swiss.
Ott and her Davos team of Carmen Schaefer, Carmen Kueng and Janine Greiner survived a gruelling see-saw contest during which the lead changed hands no less than five times.
The win avenged a Friday-night loss to Sweden in the event’s Page One-Two playoff and left Swedish skip Margaretha Sigfridsson with the dubious record of having lost two World finals, one Euro final and one World junior final.
Ott won the title in her sixth World appearance and defeated Korea on Saturday night to reach the final.
The last team from Switzerland to win a world women’s title was skipped by Erika Mueller in 1983. Ironically, Mueller later coached Ott as a junior player.
Gaby Casanova skipped the first Swiss winner in 1979, the year the championship was conceived.
The Ott team finished the nine-day championship with a 10-4 record.
“I was fortunate to be able to throw both my stones in the last end down the same path,” said Ott of the final result.
“I learned from the first one, threw a little more weight and counted on it reacting normally. It did.
“And that’s the most excited I have been on a sheet of curling ice in a long time.”
Sigfridsson, who threw lead rocks and skipped fourth Maria Prytz, third Christina Bertrup and second Maria Wennerstrom of Sundsvall and Harnosand, finished at 9-4.
Sweden was bidding for its ninth world title.
Ott shot a spectacular 90 per cent on her shots in the final, 19 points better than Prytz’s 71 per cent. All told, though, the Swedes outscored the Swiss 88-87 with Sigfridsson’s 100 per cent game at lead swinging the balance in the direction of the Canary and Blue.
“I think we were more nervous last night (Saturday) playing Korea than in tonight’s game,” said Ott.
“It’s a nice win. We didn’t have a gold medal at the Worlds. We knew it would be a close game. We had to fight real hard. It’s always nice to be on top.”
She said that there’ll be one big celebration when the team returns to Davos.
“ We will have a great big party,” she said with a wide grin.
“ Reaching the final was great for us. We knew we already had a medal, so we could just play our game and try make it from silver to gold.”
Sigfridsson noted the tightness of the contest.
“I think it swung a little bit back and forth,” she said.
“Both teams were really good today and it was a fun game but unfortunately we didn’t play as good as we had to.”
The Swedish skip admitted her opponent played as well as she’d seen her play for some time.
“For a while there she played really good and she made a very good shot with the last one,” said Sigfridsson.
It was Ott’s first international victory of note.
After a bang-bang first end, Prytz rolled out on a setup for a deuce in the second end which also was blanked. Then Sweden made good on a pair in the third with Sigfridsson’s lead-rock buries setting up the offence. (Continued below…)
Ott was close to a double with the last rock but it necessitated rocket-weight and one of the Swedish stones was left lying around while Prytz was left with an open hit.
In the fourth, Prytz missed a long and difficult runback which set up Switzerland’s tying deuce. Then Prytz sailed her first in-turn rock through the rings in the fifth end, Ott executed a perfect bury with the out-turn and the Swedish last-rocker was heavy again on an in-turn draw to the button, surrendering a go-ahead steal of one point in the process.
Prytz connected with her last of the sixth, though, breaking up a cluster of stones at the top of the four-foot and leaving two Swedish rocks counting.
Ott blanked the seventh and made that strategy pay off with another go-ahead pair in the eighth when Sigfridsson made a questionable call, asking Prytz for a precise hit rather than a draw to split the rings. The Prytz target jammed and left Ott a free draw.
In the ninth end, Ott was heavy with her last rock and moved her own stone into a vulnerable position which set up another go-ahead deuce for Sweden on a last-rock takeout by Prytz.
But that set up the thrilling 10th end that appeared to be headed Sweden’s way until Swiss third Schaefer executed two great shots, spilling three Sweden stones with her first and ducking behind cover with her second.
Ott threw a bury into the side of the four-foot with her first rock and Prytz followed with her last stone, leaving it counting but a foot short of a freeze. Ott went to school on her first draw, stepped up the weight accordingly and chipped the Swedish rock sideways, rolling full in the four-foot for the victorious pair.
Earlier Sunday, Canada won the bronze medal with a 9-6 victory over Korea. Both finished with 9-5 records.
Scotland skip Eve Muirhead was named winner of the Frances Brodie Award, voted by the players to the curler who best exhibits sportsmanship and ability.
The Enmax attendance total — 55,401 — was the second-highest for a world women’s event held in Canada, trailing only Grande Prairie’s 60,791 in 2006.
Written by Larry Wood
Sunday, 25 March 2012 11:04