Curling World Cup Grand Final, Beijing - preview
All you need to know about the Grand Final in Beijing.
The Curling World Cup is set to reach its climax as 24 teams from ten countries participate in the inaugural Grand Final between 8-12 May in Beijing, China. Here’s all you need to know.
What’s the Curling World Cup?
It is a new four-leg international series, which started in September 2018 in Suzhou and ends with the Grand Final in Beijing this week. Leg two took place in Omaha, United States in December, while Jonkoping, Sweden played host to leg three. Winners from each leg gained an automatic spot in the Grand Final, alongside the hosts, China, the recent world champions, the highest ranked Member Association not yet qualified as a leg winner and a specially invited team. Full qualification rules can be found here.
The matches will have eight ends, rather than the traditional ten, and if there is a tie after the eight ends, a one-stone shoot-out will decide the winner. The eight-team draw will be split into two pools of four playing a double round robin. The top team in each group go into their respective finals.
When does it start?
The Grand Final gets under way on Wednesday 8 May, with the opening ceremony, four days of pool matches and the three finals – women's, men’s and mixed doubles, taking place on Sunday 12 May.
Who is competing?
All nine leg-winners will take part in Beijing (excluding Canada’s Team Rachel Homan, who have been replaced by 2014 Olympic champions Team Jennifer Jones), as well as the recent women’s and men’s world champions. For the legendary Team Thomas Ulsrud – who won the world title in Beijing five years ago – the event will mark their last ever event.
In Group A, the iconic Team Jennifer Jones are set to make their Curling World Cup debut and will be joined by Omaha winners Team Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan. The hosts will be represented by Team Yilun Jiang, who competed in Jonkoping, while United States’ Team Nina Roth will return to the competition after playing in Suzhou.
Pool B is stacked with multiple world beaters including Jonkoping winners Team Minji Kim of Korea and current world champions, Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni. They will be joined by the Olympic and European champions, Team Anna Hasselborg, who will hope to go one better than their runners-up finishes in Suzhou and Jonkoping. Russia’s Team Anna Sidorova complete the group as they aim to reach their maiden Curling World Cup final.
In Group A, recently-crowned world champions Team Niklas Edin are looking to add a Curling World Cup crown to their long list of accolades. However, the Swedes will face two rinks who defeated them in the finals in Omaha and Jonkoping: United States’ Team John Shuster and Canada’s Team Matt Dunstone respectively. Team Dexin Ba of China completes the group.
Canada’s Team Kevin Koe, who won leg one in Suzhou will reignite their rivalry with Norway’s Team Ulsrud one last time in Group B, with Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller and Scotland’s Team Ross Paterson hoping to improve on their finishes from Jonkoping, where they both finished second in their pool stage.
Canadian pair Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres - winners in Suzhou - will be back in China to compete alongside 2018 world champions Michele Jaeggi and Sven Michel of Switzerland in Group A. Also in the pool with them are United States’ Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin and the hosts’ pair of Cao Chang/Yuan Mingjie.
In Group B are the champions from Omaha and Jonkoping, Norway’s Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten and young Canadian pair Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott respectively. Joining them in Beijing are Russia’s Maria Komarova and Daniil Goriachev and 2017 world champions Jenny Perret and Martin Rios of Switzerland.
Will there be anything different in Grand Final?
In a move from the first three legs of the Curling World Cup, gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded, in each discipline, at the Grand Final. Gold will be awarded to the champions, while silver will go to the runners-up.
The bronze medals will be awarded to the team who has the most Curling World Cup points from th Grand Final round robin, but has not reached the final. If there are teams tied with the same amount of points, the medals will be awarded to the team with the most three-point wins. If the teams have the same amount of points and the same win/loss record, the teams will then play a team shoot-out after their final round-robin game to determine the medallists.
For the first time in curling history, athletes are able to earn prize money while representing their country. A total of $USD 280,000 will be distributed in the Grand Final to athletes. For the men’s and women’s event there is $USD 112,000 up for grabs, with $USD 56,000 in the mixed doubles.
Where is the venue?
The newly-opened Shougang Arena in Beijing will host the Grand Final, three years before the 2022 Winter Olympics takes place in the city. The venue has been reconstructed from former "Steel City" workshops and is a prominent training centre for the 2022 Olympics.
The training centre is home to curling, figure skating and short-track speed skating, while an ice hockey stadium — which opened to the public in January — can be transformed into a multifunctional area for a wide variety of activities.
How can I watch it?
Viewers in the United States can watch selected matches live on the NBC Olympic Channel and NBCSN, with CCTV5+ broadcasting selected matches in China. Live coverage can also be found in Canada on TSN. Outside of these countries, matches will be streamed live on World Curling TV on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. There will also be a daily live blog and live scores on https://www.curlingworldcup.com.
You can follow all the latest on Twitter and Instagram and via the #CurlingWorldCup hashtag.