13 December 2018

The best quotes of the week from Omaha

Celine Stucki / WCF

The dust has settled after a packed week of curling at the Ralston Arena in Omaha. We take some time to look back at the best quotes from the athletes, who put in a ton of hard work over five busy days in snow-covered Nebraska.

Celine Stucki / WCF

Swedish men’s skip Niklas Edin took a bold decision to concede one point and keep the hammer for the final end, handing United States’ Team Shuster a 3-1 lead going into the last end of Sunday’s final.

"If you take one there, you’re toast, you’ve got five per cent chance to win the game. It’s a difficult call to give up one there, but it’s a bad situation and I obviously had no choice."

After clinching the final, United States skip John Shuster revealed what life has been like for the Olympic gold medal winners since they shot to international fame in PyeongChang in February.

“Our lives have all been insanely busy, but it's good busy - getting a chance to go out and share our story and introduce people to curling who only have casual knowledge of it. It's been a lot of fun. The tricky part has been finding time to curl!"

United States’ week in Omaha had started with a worrying defeat to China. They soon hit back by beating Scotland and Canada on day two.

Second Matt Hamilton gave an insight into how they prepare for a game: "We kind of got thrown out of our rhythm yesterday. We're very routine-orientated, and today we were all in the right mindset.

“We were able to do our job and have positive energy about us as we were able to go through our routine. It's kind of like a golfer's pre-shot routine - you've just got to follow your systems you have in place.”

Celine Stucki / WCF

In the women’s final, Korean skip Minji Kim was able to find the positives after she over-shot her draw with the very last stone to hand Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa the women’s trophy.

“Since we are so young we have many chances in the future. We have kept the same team since we were in high school, so hopefully we will get another chance."

Celine Stucki / WCF

Meanwhile, there was joy bordering on disbelief for Norwegian pair Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten after they hit back from 4-0 down after one end to beat Switzerland in the mixed doubles final.

"I’m not sure if I’ve realised it yet, it’s a bit surreal," said a beaming Skaslien. Her partner Nedregotten (who became the first player to feature in two Curling World Cup finals, having played for Team Steffen Walstad in Suzhou) said: "We were lucky today, we got out of bed with the right foot, I guess!”

Norway had secured their place in the final after another drama-packed win over China in their last group game, earned thanks to a steal of one by Skaslien on the final stone. Afterwards Nedregotten gave an insight into the dynamic between the pair, who are a couple on and off the ice.

“We often shout at each other!” he said. “It’s the best time ever when we’re playing well and it’s very bad when we’re bad. There’s a lot of feelings! We argue a lot and we make each other better a lot too – the whole scale!”

Celine Stucki / WCF

Feelings were running high in the Russian women’s team after they belatedly claimed two wins on Friday after a grim first three days of defeats in Group A.

Third Galina Arsenkina commented: “Finally we've got it and we've got smiles on our faces! Omaha has been really nice, especially compared to St Petersburg where it is always cloudy and rain. We enjoyed meeting the Russian fans here. We talked a lot and they are our biggest fans now!"

It was a positive week for Canada’s Tracy Fleury who, despite not reaching the final, only finished behind group winners Korea due to an inferior head-to-head record. Team Fleury were nominated to compete in Omaha as many others from her nation were competing in the Canada Cup.

“We’ve played the Canada Cup before so we know what that’s all about,” she said. “This was an opportunity for us to do something new and represent our country and those chances don’t really come very often.”

Celine Stucki / WCF

Norway’s Team Thomas Ulsrud didn’t let the fans down with some typically flamboyant trousers, as has become tradition. Lead Havaard van Petersson also professed himself a fan of the new timing rules at the Curling World Cup.

“The five-rock rule is new this season and that means more big ends, which I think is good for the game. I like the timings rule also; you can’t bank time so you have to keep firing those shots down.”

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