Events for February 2010

Kalamazoo Curlers in the Gazette

Jim Gesmundo at the Kalamazoo Curling Club

As the 2010 US Curling National Championships get closer and closer (less than a week away!!), we’re finding just a little more attention from the outside world. There is an article in today’s Kalamazoo Gazette which talks about how it came to be that the Nationals found a 2010 home in Kalamazoo.

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Team Shuster Withdraws

Citing “emotional and physical fatigue,” the men’s Olympic curling team has withdrawn from the US Curling National Championships. It is believed that Team Shuster will be replaced by Wes Johnson’s rink out of Seattle. The most recent draw has been posted to the USA Curling web site.

[UPDATE] – From the AP:

The U.S. Olympic men’s curlers have withdrawn from next week’s nationals because of emotional and physical exhaustion.
Lead John Benton said he brought up the idea after the team’s disappointing performance in Vancouver but insists it had nothing to do with the Americans’ last-place finish at 2-7.

The lineup already was to be without vice skip Jason Smith, with Olympic alternate Chris Plys set to replace him.

“We all underestimated the drain that this would be,” Benton said. “It’s kind of convenient to say based on our results that we might have pulled out. I can’t say that even if we had done well we wouldn’t have made the same decision. It’s just so physically and emotionally taxing. I think it’s just a relief to everybody to be done and put it to bed.”

Benton said he will enjoy playing a no-pressure league game Tuesday back home in Minnesota.

The eight-day national tournament starts next weekend in Kalamazoo. By skipping nationals, this team can’t qualify for the 2010 world championship in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, held from April 3-11.

The men’s team accepted the invitation to nationals before the mid-December deadline, but Benton said if the players had known how tired they would be now they probably wouldn’t have done so.

Skip John Shuster’s team will be replaced at nationals by the next squad in line from this season’s national playoffs, Wes Johnson’s team from Seattle.”

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Curling Pageant?

Everyone knows that sex sells… and the curling world can’t be immune to that, it would seem. With all of the exposure that the Olympic games are bringing to the sport of curling here in the United States, it was only a matter of time before the athletes were ranked according to their skin-deep beauty. This is America, after all. But hey, maybe this is one of the ways that the sport can establish a foot-hold… take a look at the Huffington Post’s “judge a curler by their looks” vote.

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WOW. That’s high praise!

Okay, so they get their digs in about the possibility that curlers are still somehow less than “real” athletes… but here is yet another voice that speaks the high praise of the game now that the Olympics have shared this sport with our country. It comes from the Michigan Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Michigan. For at least one person there, curling saved the Winter Olympics!

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Hammerfall vs. Sweden

As mentioned on last night’s coverage of the women’s curling match between the USA and Sweden, we present “Hammerfall vs. The Swedish Womens Olympic Curling Team.”

Hammerfall is a heavy metal band that formed in Sweden, and this is their music video for their single “Hearts on Fire.”

It might just be the greatest thing the Internet has ever produced. Seriously.

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