Canada’s Lois Fowler and Alan O’Leary are bringing home medals – gold for the Canadian women and silver for the men – after the finals of the World Senior Curling Championships wrapped up in Sochi, Russia, on Saturday morning.
“I can’t believe it,” said an emotional Fowler after the game. “Absolutely, completely thrilled to come out on top of this event. We’re all absolutely elated.”
Fowler and her team of third Maureen Bonar, second Cathy Gauthier, lead Allyson Stewart, with coaches Brian Fowler and Bill Tschirhart took control early and never looked back in a 6-2 victory over Italy’s Fiona Simpson.
The Canadians led 4-2 at the break after scoring deuces with hammer and holding their opponents to singles. But they took complete control of the game with a single point – a steal of one in the seventh to go ahead 6-2.
“It was Cathy’s (Gauthier) fourth time at a Worlds and she’s never gotten a gold medal. We wanted it for her as well as for all of us,” Fowler said. “We thought we’d played well all week, even although one game got away from us. We were confident we could do it but we knew we’d have to play well.”
The Canadian women came into the playoffs with a 4-1 record.
“I wouldn’t say we cruised through (the round robin),” Fowler said. “We had an awesome game with Switzerland yesterday. They gave us a really good game. And also in our first games we were slow to take control. We had to work for it. We’re very, very pleased with our play and thrilled to be on top.”
For second Cathy Gauthier, the win was especially sweet.
“This was my fourth try (to win a world title),” she said. “Sweden has taken away every medal I wanted, so that win against them earlier was so important. When I went to Paisley in 2005 with Jennifer (Jones) I thought I had two medals and would get a third. I didn’t realise there was an option not to get a medal at all. Then I thought I would stick to coaching and broadcasting and then Lois said let’s just give this one more try, so that was my last rock.”
In the men’s final, O’Leary and his Halifax team of third Andrew Dauphinee, second Danny Christianson, lead Harold McCarthy and coach Tschirhart, who had gone undefeated throughout the competition, fell behind early and just couldn’t catch up in a 9-4 loss to the USA’s Lyle Sieg.
Trailing 6-1 after five, Canada battled back with a big score of three in the sixth. But Sieg put the game away with a score of three in the seventh.
“Silver feels not great but we had a good week,” said O’Leary. “It was the thrill of a lifetime having the Maple Leaf on our back, but USA have been hot all week and full credit to them for becoming world champions. It sucks to be one step short, but we lost to the better team today, so congratulations to them.”
Fowler’s gold medal is the seventh for Canadian women in the past eight years at the World Senior Curling Championships.
“Every day we would wake up and keep pinching ourselves,” she said about the experience of competing in Sochi. “We’ve been just amazed at the scenery and the Olympic infrastructure. It was just a marvellous trip.”
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