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February 21, 2002
CBC Online

Kelley Law wins curling bronze

All the stones aligned for Canada's Kelley Law to take the win in the bronze-medal game against the United States.

After suffering a crushing semi-final loss to Great Britain's Rhona Martin on Wednesday, the Canadian women returned to the Ogden Ice Sheet Thursday to defeat the American team, skipped by Kari Erickson, 9-5.

"We came out tough today even though it was a really difficult loss yesterday, and we played our best and stuck together," Law told CBC following the win.

"Our ultimate goal was to win gold. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us, so we regrouped last night and said the bronze would be pretty sweet, too."

Law, Skinner, second Georgina Wheatcroft and lead Diane Nelson picked up a deuce in the first end before the United States tallied one in the next end. Poor communication between Law and Skinner in the fourth end allowed the Americans to steal one in the third.

The Canadians then picked up a deuce in the fourth. In the next end, they set up an impenetrable line of guards to block the Americans and also skilfully lined up a steal of one.

The Americans picked up one in the sixth, but Law's stones were perfectly on line in the seventh to score a deuce. The Americans fought back and picked up a deuce in the eighth. But the Canadians picked up a single in the ninth and tenth to take the game.

Law's rink topped the preliminary round with an 8-1 record. The 2000 world champions were favoured to defend the 1998 gold won by the late Sandra Schmirler. The Canadians seemed relaxed and confident in the tournament until they lost the final game of the round, robin and in an uncharacteristic succession of stumbles, their game unravelled against Great Britain in Wednesday's semi-final.

Great Britain will play Switzerland for gold Thursday.

"Yesterday we struggled a little bit and didn't have the game that we would have liked to have had but to come back, and that's what great teams are about, to come back today and give it all we had and play the way we did -- it's a great feeling," said Skinner.

Skinner said that the legacy of Schmirler, who skipped perhaps the greatest women's rink ever, did not add undue pressure to her team.

"It was a nice standard they set for Canada and something we hoped to achieve," she said. "They were a great team but I don't think there was any extra pressure on us at all."

Law credited her 10-year-old son, Christopher, with helping her put things in perspective.

"He said `You know what? That's OK, you're at the Olympics,'" Law recalled Thursday after defeating Kari Erickson of the United States 9-5 to win the bronze medal.

"He said `If you win a medal, it's one thing. If you don't, don't worry about it. I haven't won a soccer game all year.' I thought there's incentive to go out and bring home a bronze."

In contrast, the last time a heavily favoured Canadian team lost a Winter Olympic semi-final, the Canadian men's hockey team turned in a sad and dispirited performance against Finland and lost the bronze medal at the 1998 Nagano Games.

Erickson was buoyed another boisterous, partison crowd chanting "U-S-A!" with every shot, and had to make do with a respectable fourth-place finish.

"It was a tough fight this week," said Erickson, a two-time medallist at the world junior championships in the early 1990s.

"We'd have liked to have won one of these last games, but a fourth-place finish is good."

Canada's Kevin Martin will meet Norway's Paal Truusen in the men's gold-medal game on Friday. Sweden's Peja Lindholm will challenge Switzerland's Andreas Schwaller for bronze.

reprinted with permission

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