One of the great thing about curling is the curlers. From weekly league players to international competitors, curlers are a friendly group of people passionate about their sport. And curling is one of the rare sports that still brings world class curlers together with regular club players, as you will read as some of our members share their memories of meeting Olympic curlers through the years.
Club member Brent Cooke shares, “Back in Winnipeg Canada in the 70s, a curling event known then as the “All Nighter Bonspiel” was very popular with the male under-twenty crowd. It was not for the faint of heart, requiring determination and skill that you could count on to last over the 24 hour period and posed an interesting challenge to male curlers to see who could survive a bonspiel that started at 5pm on a Friday and completed about 24 hours later.
“The games were timed, and if you were lucky you found a spot on the carpet to sleep in between, as it was way too cold to go out to the car to sleep. Over time you got to know the teams and their skips.
“Two that were very competitive and skilled were the (Kerry) Burtnyk and the (Mark) Olson teams. You could always count on them to be in top form. You always wanted to play against them for the competition, but hoped they did not beat you too badly. Over the years, my team had a chance to play against them on numerous occasions and never exited on the winning side. Eventually, these two skips would combine their talents and prove to be World Class Curlers – winning a Bronze at the World Curling Championships in 1981, and then Kerry would go on to win Gold in 1995.
“Curling is a sport where you will have opportunities to compete against many players ranging in skillsets – and you never know – some day in the future you may be watching a Global Curling Match on television and be able to say “yep – I’ve played against them before”. Enjoy your wins and your losses – it’s all part of the game.”
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