McManus: One of the best events I’ve played - I have goosebumps
We caught up with Sweden women's third as she reflects on her week so far in Jonkoping ahead of the final.
Few occasions can overwhelm an Olympic and European champion. But a packed home crowd at the Curling World Cup had Sara McManus beaming from ear to ear.
In the last 12 months alone, the 27-year-old has racked up a long list of accolades, including ‘Best Women’s Team’ at the 2018 Olympics Winter Games, two Grand Slam triumphs and not least, the aforementioned Olympic and European gold.
It is very seldom, though, that McManus gets to perform at a world-class event on home ice and it is something she is savouring every second in Jonkoping.
"It gives me goosebumps,” she said moments after stepping off the ice after Sweden’s crunch tie with Russia.
“It was so great because we have never played a big tournament at home in Sweden. It was incredible."
The Gothenburg-born third was amazed how a local curling club could be transformed into a venue hosting an international sporting event.
“It has been fantastic and everything has been organised so well here – I am amazed. They have turned everything around into one of the best events we’ve ever played in. Everything around it has amazed me.
“We had family and friends here and know the club really well. It gives me goosebumps just to talk about it.”
Those goosebumps propelled McManus and her teammates – skip Anna Hasselborg, second Agnes Knochenbauer and lead Sofia Mabergs – into putting on a special performance on Saturday night against long-time rivals Team Anna Sidorova.
McManus, who won gold at the World Junior Curling Championships in 2010 at 18 years old, admits the nerves went up a notch when the Russians registered four points in the penultimate end, but the Swedes came through as victors, winning 7-6.
“That was really fun. Even though we made it a little too nerve-racking in the last end. We had a really nice feeling out there – it was a lot of fun. It felt like a strong team effort so I’m very pleased.
McManus’ homeland Sweden has been a hotbed for the sport for a number of years and a previous Olympic champion, Anette Norberg, was in the crowd watching on as the rink had every spectator on their feet.
However, she says motivation was difficult to find after winning the European Championships in Tallinn, Estonia last November, but is relishing a chance to face Korea’s Team Minji Kim in the final.
“They are on fire and we have been keeping track on them. They are a very cool team and it will be nice to play them," revealed McManus, who hails from Gävle.
“After the Europeans, the motivation has been a little struggle, but now we’re here at home and playing a young team it gives us a little extra fire.
“We’ve been there and I hope it will be good final to play and for people to watch."
Watch the women's final live on WorldCurlingTV, CCTV5+, Sportkanalen and NBC live stream.