Canadian curlers hope research pays off with gold in Sochi

Canada’s Olympic curlers won’t just have a top-level coaching and support staff behind them next February in Russia. They’ll also have science on their side.

Craig Savill, left, shows off some of the results of research being done on sweeping technique with, from left, Lisa Weagle, Minister of State (Sport) Bal Gosal and CCA Director, High Performance Gerry Peckham look on (Photos, courtesy National Research Council Canada)

Ongoing research funded by Sport Canada and the Own The Podium program continues to search for any insight that will give Team Canada more of an edge when our men’s and women’s squads hit the ice at the Ice Cube Curling Center in Sochi.

Minister of State (Sport) Bal Gosal gets some sweeping instruction from National Team Program athlete Lisa Weagle.

Earlier this week at the National Research Council in Ottawa, two of our Olympic hopefuls, National Team Program athletes Lisa Weagle (lead for Team Rachel Homan from Ottawa) and Craig Savill (lead for Team Glenn Howard from Coldwater, Ont.), showed off some of those research findings (but certainly not all of them; they’ll be kept under wraps until the Olympics) to Bal Gosal, the Minister of State (Sport). “It was great to see how sport science is helping our athletes better prepare and train,” said Minister Gosal. “It is important that Canada remain one step ahead of the competition, and the Harper Government remains committed to working with our partners, such as the Canadian Curling Association to ensure that our athletes have the tools they need to reach the top of the podium.” Much of the research is being done towards finding the most effective manner of sweeping rocks, and that’s particularly important for front-enders such as Weagle and Savill. “The sport is always evolving,” said Gerry Peckham, the Canadian Curling Association’s Director, High Performance, “and that is predominately because we’re never satisfied that we’ve found all of the critical information. We keep looking for new ways to better enable our teams to perform at a higher level and continue to shine on the international stage.”