Frustration is mounting for Canadian Olympic curling captain Brad Gushue after he failed to clinch a playoff berth at the Beijing Winter Games.
In eight of nine round robin games, Gushue Rink sits in third place with a 5-3 record, with the top four teams advancing to the semifinals. But after a 7-6 loss to the ROC on Tuesday, the 2006 Olympic gold medalist knows his side have squandered a great opportunity.
“They capitalized and tried to make us pay,” he said after the loss to ROC.
Canada still has a good shot at qualifying for Friday’s semifinals, but it’s in the midst of hard work to get there. With records of 4-4, the ROC and the United States are hot on the heels of the Canadians.
Gushue said the ROC loss was “frustrating”, but also pointed to the ice conditions in contrast to their victory 11 hours earlier against China.
“Even more frustrating to be honest is just the ice cream,” he said. “You [can] see this dramatic change in [our last game] for [this one].”
Curling at this year’s Olympics takes place in the “ice cube”, the nickname given to the site of the National Aquatics Center for the 2008 Summer Olympics which serves a curling rink for the first time.
“It’s really disappointing. The ice is dirty,” Gushue said. “It was a real challenge there.”
While he didn’t specify exactly what caused the dirty ice – possibly excess debris on the rubber pad bindings – Gushue was later asked if he thought the ice conditions were confined. to the sheet on which Canada was playing.
“I hope that’s the sheet,” replied the Canadian captain.
With the temporary rink built over a swimming pool, fluctuations in ice conditions were common throughout the Olympics. In a sport that relies on precision and timing, curlers tend to obsess over the smallest changes in conditions that can make their strokes longer or shorter.
“The ice cream is good, it’s just completely different from what it has been for the past few days”, Gushue told CBC during his team’s game against Italy on Monday.
In their final round robin game, Canada will face Great Britain on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. ET/5:05 p.m. PT. A victory would ensure the Canadians a place in the semi-finals, although they could enter earlier if Great Britain beat the ROC in the previous draw.
“I think a day off will hopefully help us in training tomorrow,” Gushue said. “[It’s] a chance to regroup and maybe figure out, you know, what’s been going on pretty well all week.
Canada missed the podium in mixed doubles curling after assembling its team just weeks before the Olympics. The women’s team, led by Jennifer Jones, is tied for sixth (but only half a game away from a playoff spot) with a 3-3 record.
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