Curling

Friday Feb. 7, 2014 08:55

Canada vs. The Curling World

Curlers Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs will represent Canada at the Sochi Olympics, but just who will they be facing? Curling commentator Mike Harris will get you up to speed on the international skips that stand in Canada's path to gold.

  • Wang Bingyu
    1 gallery_of 18

    China - Wang BingyuThe 2009 world champions and 2010 Olympic bronze medallists had to go through the Olympic qualification event just to qualify for Sochi, but did so with ease. This team seems to be back to their world championship form after a couple of difficult seasons. Former Ferbey Four teammate Marcel Rocque is the new head coach for China and he has steered the team in the right direction, seemingly. Expectations: Gold medal contenders. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

    1/18
  • Thomas Ulsrud
    2 gallery_of 18

    Norway - Thomas UlsrudThis team has had the most experience on the international scene in this field, and is certainly due to win a major title. They have plenty of silver medals already, from the world championships and the 2010 Olympic Games. They will not find the pressure of the Olympics too much to bear, but do need to play well to have a chance for gold. Expectations: Gold medal contender. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

    2/18
  • Mirjam Ott
    3 gallery_of 18

    Switzerland - Mirjam OttThe 2011 world champions had a strong season with a couple of wins in Canada to start the year. They did struggle through the playoff rounds at the European championships in December, but are a very resilient team. Mirjam has 2 Olympic silver medals already from 2002 and 2006. Expectations: Gold medal contenders. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

    3/18
  • Sven Michel
    4 gallery_of 18

    Switzerland - Sven MichelThis is the most improved team in the world over the past 12 months, in my opinion. Complete dedication to the entire game has been key. All four players have transformed themselves physically and have had a wonderful season, including winning the 2013 European Championship in December, beat Norway in the Final. Expectations: Gold medal contender. (Carina Johansen/Associated Press)

    4/18
  • Margaretha Sigfridsson
    5 gallery_of 18

    Sweden - Margaretha SigfridssonFour-time world silver medallists, this team is very consistent and very strong. Look for their consistency to be a big advantage in this event. Finally had a breakthrough win at the 2013 European Championships, winning gold in December and are coming in confident. Expectations: Gold medal contenders. (Roman Koksarov/Associated Press)

    5/18
  • Rui Liu
    6 gallery_of 18

    China - Rui LiuThe Chinese men's team is a little bit hit and miss... we saw them reach the semifinals of one of the Grand Slams this year, but also have failed miserably on occasion. Consistency will be their Achilles heel, but they can step up and beat any team in this field. Expectations: Middle of the pack. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

    6/18
  • Niklas Edin
    7 gallery_of 18

    Sweden - Niklas Edin. The reigning world champion has had a poor season so far, struggling in the Grand Slam events, as well as missing the playoffs at the European Championships. They'll need to turn it around to get into the playoffs, but are certainly capable.  Fun fact : The defending world champion has never even won a medal on the men's side at the Olympic Games. (Only exception Canada in 2006, but defending world champion was Randy Ferbey, not Brad Gushue). Expectations: Gold medal contender.  (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

    7/18
  • Eve Muirhead
    8 gallery_of 18

    Great Britain - Eve MuirheadThe reigning 2013 World Champions and Players Champions are capable and fearless. Eve is one of the superstars of the sport and will be a force to reckon with for many years. This team is THE big medal hope for Team GB at the entire Olympic Games, and have been under severe media scrutiny for the past year or more in Scotland. It will be interesting to see if this added pressure will cause them and distress during the games. Expectations: Gold medal favourites, along with Canada. (Roman Koksarov/Associated Press)

    8/18
  • John Shuster
    9 gallery_of 18

    USA - John ShusterAlso had to win the Olympic qualification event to make it to Sochi, under great pressure and expectation. They played very well in Germany to win the second spot, but are also in tough in this field. A 3rd  to 6th place finish would be a decent result. Expectations: Bottom 3. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/Associated Press)

    9/18
  • John Jahr
    10 gallery_of 18

    Germany - John JahrHe’s has actually had a great season… he had to win the B Group at Europeans and then beat the 8th place team in the A pool just to make it to the world championships, which they did. Then they had to win the Olympic qualification event in their home country in December, which they also did! Great run for this team. But they will be a bottom of the pack team in this field, along with the USA. Expectations: Bottom 3. (Ennio Leanza/Associated Press)

    10/18
  • Erika Brown
    11 gallery_of 18

    USA - Erika BrownThis team is another capable of winning it all, although slightly less so than the other six. Third Deb McCormick is a former world champion and brings a sense of calm to this team, especially through the playoffs, if they manage to get through. They will need to be at their best to get to the podium, but are certainly capable, and have won a few events on the world curling tour over the past few seasons. Expectations: Medal contenders. (Roman Koksarov/Associated Press)

    11/18
  • David Murdoch
    12 gallery_of 18

    Great Britain - David MurdochDavid is now skipping Tom Brewster's team that was the runner up at the world championships in 2011 and 2012. Team chemistry is certainly an issue, but this team has played quite a bit together this year with limited success. They will need to play well to reach the podium, but are one of five teams capable of winning gold, in my opinion. Expectations: Gold medal contender. (Carina Johansen/Associated Press)

    12/18
  • Andrey Drozdov
    13 gallery_of 18

    Russia - Andrey DrozdovThe entry from the host country is still quite inexperienced and in over their heads versus this field. They have some talent; however they’ll do well to not finish last. Expectations: Bottom 3. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

    13/18
  • 640-anna-sidorova-gallery
    14 gallery_of 18

    Russia - Anna SidorovaThis team from the host country has a ton of international experience and won the 2012 European Championship defeating Eve Muirhead from Great Britain in the final. Several wins on the cash circuit as well. Expectations: Gold medal contenders. (Jesper Dall/Associated Press)

    14/18
  • Rasmus Stjerne
    15 gallery_of 18

    Denmark - Rasmus StjerneThis is a dark horse team for the playoffs. Stjerne is fearless. A former world junior champion, and a very talented player. He may not have the firepower to consistently compete and much will depend on his third Johnny Fredricksen to play well... but they can upset some of the big guns. Expectations: Middle of the pack, but with a chance for the podium. (Carina Johansen/Getty Images)

    15/18
  • Lene Nielsen
    16 gallery_of 18

    Denmark - Lene NielsenThis field is very deep, and this young but experienced team will be in tough. They are capable of beating anybody in the field, however. Expectations: Bottom half of the field. (Niels Husted/Asociated Press)

    16/18
  • Ji Sun Kim
    17 gallery_of 18

    South Korea - Ji-Sun Kim. Expectations: Same as Denmark! Bottom half of the field. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

    17/18
  • Ayumi Ogasawara
    18 gallery_of 18

    Japan - Ayumi Ogasawara. Expectations: Same as South Korea and Denmark! Bottom half of the field. (Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press)

    18/18
  • Wang Bingyu
  • Thomas Ulsrud
  • Mirjam Ott
  • Sven Michel
  • Margaretha Sigfridsson
  • Rui Liu
  • Niklas Edin
  • Eve Muirhead
  • John Shuster
  • John Jahr
  • Erika Brown
  • David Murdoch
  • Andrey Drozdov
  • 640-anna-sidorova-gallery
  • Rasmus Stjerne
  • Lene Nielsen
  • Ji Sun Kim
  • Ayumi Ogasawara

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