Omaha draw produces outstanding head-to-heads
The countdown is on for Omaha and we take a look at six terrific head-to-heads to keep an eye out for.
With less than five weeks until the second leg of the Curling World Cup gets under way, we look at some key battles to look out for in Omaha.
Japan vs Sweden - Women's event
A terrific match-up between two teams who often meet on the big stage. It is the Japanese rink that have the upper hand with six wins to Team Hasselborg’s four.
- Team Fujisawa were only one of two rinks to beat Team Hasselborg during the 2018 Olympics - the same Games in which Sweden went on to win gold.
- Japan’s first Olympic curling medal was won by Team Fujisawa at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018.
- Team Hasselborg’s gold at PyeongChang came eight years after they won the World Junior Curling Championships in Switzerland.
Sweden vs Norway - Men's event
Two world champions clashing in a Scandinavian face-off will surely get the juices flowing in Omaha. The two skips - Thomas Ulsrud and Niklas Edin - rank first and sixth in the list for most wins in major championships.
- The two rinks were involved in the 2015 World Curling Championship final, in which Sweden came out on top 9-5.
- Team Edin are three-time World Champions and have picked up medals at the previous two Olympics (2014, 2018).
- Team Ulsrud’s first World Curling Championship was in 2006 - eight years later they won the gold medal in Beijing.
Canada vs United States - Men's event
The old rivalry between Canada and United States will be renewed, and the Canadians might expect a partisan crowd in the Ralston Arena come December.
- Team Gunnlaugson have played Team Shuster four times in the past and lost three times, but did claim victory at this season's Canad Inns Men’s Classic.
- Denni Neufeld is the brother of BJ, who was part of the Canadian rink that won the opening leg in Suzhou.
- Team Shuster became the first United States rink to win an Olympic gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
United States vs Russia - Women's event
The two rinks have had impressive seasons so far, with Team Kovaleva picking up two wins on the tour and Team Sinclair in the top ten of the world rankings.
- The two rinks have faced each other just once before, with Team Kovaleva beating Team Sinclair 7-4 at the Autumn Gold Curling Classic in October.
- Team Sinclair have been United States national champions in the previous two years, beating Team Roth and Team Christensen respectively in the final.
- Russian skip Alina Kovaleva has won medals twice at the World Curling Championships as an alternate and her team were junior world champions in 2013 in Sochi.
Canada vs Switzerland - Mixed doubles event
The mixed doubles can produce some dramatic matches and a near repeat of the 2018 Winter Olympics final will surely be one to keep an eye out for in Omaha.
- The two rinks faced each other in the inaugural mixed doubles final of the Olympic Winter Games earlier this year (albeit John Morris had a different partner in Kaitlyn Lawes), with the Canadian side winning 10-3.
- John Morris and Taylor McDonald are both world junior champions - but claimed gold 16 years apart - 1998 and 2014.
- Jenny Perret and Martin Rios beat a Canadian team to win world mixed doubles gold in 2017.
United States vs Norway - Mixed doubles event
Joe Polo will be the only one between the rinks who has yet to play a Curling World Cup match, and with the Norwegian duo back together we can expect an excellent match.
- The two rinks will face off for the first time in Omaha, having never met on the mixed doubles circuit.
- Joe Polo was alternate for Team John Shuster in PyeongChang, while Tabitha Peterson competed for United States in Suzhou.
- Magnus Nedregotten and Kristin Skaslien won bronze in PyeongChang.