Bronze medallist grilled by Riley reporters
By Bruce Campbell
Wednesday March 29, 2006
While Bruce Campbell wrote the following article, the responses from Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink were the result of hard-hitting questions from Karen Andrews’ Grade 6 class at Senator Riley middle school. Andrews has curled with Kleibrink at the Nanton Meatspiel and the Highwood Mixed Bonspiel.
Shannon Kleibrink had a hot news tips for Senator Riley school journalists — sure winning a bronze medal in curling at the XXth Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy is great, but gee, sometimes you have no idea who your neighbours are.
“There was this hockey player staying in the apartment right next to us,” Kleibrink told the 25 students. “It was this real nice, big tall bald guy. We went out to eat with him at the Olympic Village and we got to know him. At the end of the week, my husband joined me and I said to the hockey player: ‘Oh, hi, how are you?’ — I still didn’t know his name. And my husband says: ‘That’s Matt Sundin.’”
“He (Sundin) and Peter Forsberg were in the apartment right next to us.”
Kleibrink was under the scrutiny of Karen Andrews’ Grade 6 students on March 22 about what life at the Olympics was like. The young scribes went beyond the stereotypical question like what it feels like to win the bronze medal?– tougher questions like “How much is a medal worth?”
“They must be worth a little bit,” said Kleibrink who was the skip of Canada’s women’s team consisting of Kleibrink, Amy Nixon, Glenys Bakker, Christine Keshen, and Sandra Jenkins. “Because as soon as you won a medal you were assigned a bodyguard. Well, we had four extra days after we won our bronze medal at the Olympics. They didn’t tell us we would have bodyguard — and because we are Canadians we didn’t even think of it. We went shopping and this guy was following us all the way to Torino (Turin) — we thought we had this stalker. So we phoned security at the Olympic Village and told them we have this guy following us everywhere we go. They said: ‘Of course, you do, that’s your police guard.’”
While Kleibrink was acutely aware of how her curling team did, she was too busy to know how the Canadians — like the highly publicized men’s hockey team, were doing.
“We had just won our curling game — it was sort of a nothing game — and there was this big media scrum,” Kleibrink said. “I was asked specifically to attend the scrum. All the lights were on me, they put a mike in front of my face and asked me: “How do you feel about the men’s failure?’
“I said : ‘What men?’ (Canada had just lost 2-0 to Russia).
“That was one of the most difficult things was trying to keep track of how the Canadians were doing.”
She said she is now watching video highlights of the Games — because she couldn’t watch much of the action while she was actually in Torino.
These Riley reporters were on the ball. They knew sometimes stereotypical questions are good– how did it feel to receive an Olympic bronze medal after beating Norway 11-5 on Feb. 23?
“The most fun experience was receiving our medals,” Kleibrink said. “We were taken by police escort and when we walked out on the stage, we couldn’t believe it — all you could see were people – which is amazing because there were no Italians receiving medals at that ceremony… It was like being a rock star for the night.”
Receiving the bronze on behalf of her country — especially after her team battled sickness — was a major highlight for Kleibrink, but so was receiving something else in Turino.
“One of the very best things about Italy is the gelato,” Kleibrink said. “Every night we would try a different gelato. For some reason, everybody in Italy likes Canadians. We would go into the store and they would give us gelato and have their pictures taken with us.”
© 2006 High River Times