Reigning world champions from Sweden now also have Olympic gold medal
Anette Norberg knows a thing or two about pressure.
The Swedish skip and her team of third Eva Lund, second Cathrine Lindahl and lead Anna Svärd carried the weight of their country’s expectations on their shoulders into the Turin Olympics last month and came away with the gold medal.
The pressure was there because they were already world champions, having won the title in Paisley, Scotland last year.
And now they’ve come to Grande Prairie as the team to beat at the 2006 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship.
“I think we have handled all the pressure going to the Olympics as the favourites and getting the gold,” said Norberg, who threw practice rocks with her teammates at the Sexsmith Curling Club Wednesday. “If you can handle that, then pressure is no problem.”
Since the Olympics, Norberg and her teammates have been back home in Sweden, getting in as much game time as they could before worlds.
“We’re struggling with being able to focus on this tournament because it was very exhausting being at the Olympics and all the things that happen around the Olympics,” said Norberg, who also skipped Team Sweden at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France.
“We reached a goal we had set four years ago, so we’re kind of satisfied in one way right now, so I hope we’ll be able to want more when the worlds start.”
Team Sweden just arrived in Grande Prairie and was still adjusting to the 20 hours of flying time it took to get here from Stockholm.
“We’re trying to adjust because it’s an eight-hour time difference,” said Norberg, who will face Germany at 2 p.m. in the first draw Saturday afternoon. “We hope to be adjusted, that’s why we came here (Tuesday).”
But Norberg was confident she and her teammates will snap to attention the moment they hit the ice at the Canada Games Arena for their first game Saturday.
“I hope we’ll have good ice. If you want to be able to play good curling you need good ice. We had a tournament in Sweden where we played on horrible ice just a few weeks after the Olympics. Curling is not fun then,” said Norberg, a veteran of seven world championship appearances. “As long as the ice is honest and behaves, and you suppose it would, then that’s fine. Of course you want it to curl, as long as it doesn’t too much.”
The ice at the Canada Games Arena looks to be good for the coming week, much like the opponents that will no doubt come gunning for the defending world champions and Olympic gold medallists.
“The teams that are playing us can play us quite relaxed,” said Norberg. “Of course they would like to beat the Olympic champions. I think we experienced that at the Olympics as well. The teams had their best games against us.”
Practices continue today at Sexsmith as other teams arrive in Grande Prairie. Round-robin play begins Saturday.
Copyright © 2005 Daily Herald -Tribune, a division of Quebecor Media
Memo: The 2006 Ford World Women’s Curling Championships runs March 18 – 26, 2006 in Grande Prairie, Alberta .. You can see this and all the other events still to come in our Curling Blog Event Calendar