Just five years after entering their first world championships, the Chinese women’s curling team defeated Switzerland, 12-6, to take the bronze medal at 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. The Chinese team, led by skip (aka captain) Wang Bingyu (王冰玉), earned China’s first Olympic medal in the sport of curling. The team was unable to reach the gold medal match after a devastating loss in the semifinals to Sweden, 9-4.
Although the Harbin Curling Club team came into the Olympics as the defending World Champions, the team finished with a 6-3 record, just barely making it into the medal round. Their play was marred by inconsistent shot-making and questionable strategy. After an uncharacteristic 7-4 loss to the unheralded team from Russia, their Canadian coach, Daniel Rafael, was not pleased:
“This team has just been baffling me.”
“I don’t know who is going to show up,” he told reporters, trembling. “The team that played [and beat] Canada or the team that played Russia? I don’t know what to do anymore. At this point, it’s not whether we finish first or fourth. If you’re going to show up and play like this, you might as well stay in your room.
“My personal view, my opinion, is I don’t think they have the passion most curlers have. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you have passion? Wouldn’t being in your first Olympics and representing your country, motivate you? I don’t know what they’re thinking. I really don’t. They’re not children. They’re adults.”
It’s unclear how long Rafael will remain their coach (probably not long), but he will coach the Chinese team when they defend their world title at the 2010 World Women’s Curling Championships, this March in Swift Current, Canada. Rafael also coaches China’s men’s curling team. They finished 8th.
Photo from Flickr user fifaphoto.