5 things to know about women's Olympic curling

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 3, 2014 at 11:31 am •  Published: February 3, 2014
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After winning curling gold at the last two Olympics, Anette Norberg will again be calling the shots for Sweden at the Sochi Games.

There's a catch: She'll be in a TV commentary booth rather than out on the ice.

With Norberg ending her illustrious curling career last year at 46, the Swedes have a new skip at the Olympics for the first time since 2006 — Margaretha Sigfridsson.

The transition so far has been smooth. Sigfridsson is the current European champion and her rink has won silver at the last two world championships.

"She has as much talent as Anette, definitely," Sweden coach Peja Lindholm told The Associated Press. "I mean, she's been a top-level international for the last three years. She won't be too shaky in Sochi, that's for sure."

Sigfridsson will have serious competition as she looks to take over from Norberg as curling's latest "Ice Queen."

Eve Muirhead of Britain has already captured European and world titles to add to her four victories at the world junior championships — can she top the lot by winning Olympic gold by the age of 23?

The United States, Canada, Switzerland, Russia (as host), Denmark, South Korea, China and Japan are the other teams to have qualified.

Here are five things to know about the women's tournament:

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THE FAVORITES

They met in the world championship final in March, the European championship final in November and are favored to reach the Olympic final on Feb. 20.

It's 1-1 between Eve Muirhead and Margaretha Sigfridsson in major finals over the past 10 months — Sweden won the Europeans and Scotland won the worlds — so the Olympics could be the decider.

They will be able to size each other up immediately in Sochi after Sweden was drawn to play Britain in the first round-robin session on Feb. 10. Both skips will be looking to make a statement ahead of a possible rematch 10 days later.

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THE BAGPIPE-PLAYING CURLER

Could Muirhead be any more Scottish?

She plays the bagpipes (a junior champion). She loves a round of golf (once played off scratch and had golf scholarship offers from American universities). And she also has curling in her blood (her father, Gordon, was a world champion in 1999).

It's curling where she has made her name, so much so that she is probably the sport's biggest female superstar.

"I knew from a young age that I had a good opportunity and potential in this sport and I think I've proven that," Muirhead said of picking curling over golf. "I think I made the right decision."

Muirhead has already had one attempt at Olympic gold, in Vancouver in 2010 when Britain arrived as one of the favorites and left after failing to advance out of the round-robin stage. Call that a trial run — Muirhead was only 19.



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