Lyndon Little, Canwest News ServicePublished: Monday, March 31, 2008
Canada 7, China 4
VERNON, B.C. -- At least now Jennifer Jones won't have to answer any more questions about Paisley, Scotland.
Since she failed to reach the podium in her first opportunity at representing Canada at the women's world curling championships in 2005, the Winnipeg skip has been dogged by queries about what went wrong.
Canadian skip Jennifer Jones celebrates after defeating China to win gold at the world women's curling championship Sunday
After beating China's Bingyu Wang 7-4 Sunday before a capacity crowd of 3,725 at the Greater Vernon Multiplex in the final of the 2008 Ford women's worlds, Jones and her teammates can finally call themselves world champs.
Jones becomes just the second Canadian skip to bring home the gold when the women's worlds have been held on Canadian soil. Ontario's Marilyn Bodogh is the only other one to accomplish that -- she did it twice, in 1986 and again in 1996.
"It feels pretty darn good," said Jones, a 33-year-old corporate lawyer who is backed by teammates Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin. "This makes up for all the bumps along the road like Paisley."
It was a particularly satisfying gold medal for Overton-Clapham, who had been in three previous world championships -- one in junior and two in women's play -- and had missed gold in all of them.
"I was a pretty emotional today, especially when you think of all the work we put into the game," said the Team Canada third.
The Jones' foursome did it the hard way. After losing the 1 versus 2 Page playoff game 7-5 to China on Friday the Canadian champions had to fight their way back through the semifinal with a 9-8 extra-end thriller over Moe Meguro of Japan Saturday night. In that contest Canada trailed 6-3 after six ends but tied the game in the 10th with a steal of one and won it in the 11th with another steal.
Going into the final, Wang and her surprising Chinese team seemed to have the Canadians' number, beating them 9-7 in the round robin as well as the first playoff encounter. Most of the Jones' team felt the semifinal win against Japan was the turning point.
"We knew after (Saturday) night we'd come out strong today," said Jones. "We felt we controlled the game and deserved the win."
"When I woke up this morning I had a great feeling," added Overton-Clapham. "We don't seldom lose to a team three times in one event."
Team Canada, which had been plagued by slow starts all tournament, jumped into a quick lead Sunday with three in the second end and was never seriously threatened after that. Canada sealed the contest in the seventh when Jones pulled off a double-angle raise takeout with her final stone to score two and take a 6-3 advantage.
The silver medal still felt pretty good to the Chinese. It's the first medal of any sort for the Asian nation, which didn't debut in the worlds until 2005.
"When you have two teams in a final one wins and one loses," smiled the 23-year-old Wang, whose team spends part of the year training in Richmond, B.C. "I think the difference today was it our first time in a final and we were a little nervous."
The impressive showing by Jones raises Canadian hopes for a possible gold medal sweep in curling in 2010. With Kelly Scott's win last year in Japan Canada now has now laid claim to the last two women's titles. And Edmonton's Kevin Martin will attempt to make it two men's titles in a row next week in Grand Forks, N.D.
Since curling became an official medal sport at the Winter Olympics, Canada has never taken both titles in the same Games.