Canada still dominant on one ice surface

Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:07pm EST
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By Janet Guttsman

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada took a touch of revenge on Monday for their humbling Olympic ice hockey loss to the United States, knocking out the American men's curling team and proving there is still one slippery surface on which they excel.

Canada locked the U.S. out of the medal rounds and kept their own unbeaten record intact with a 7-2 victory over a U.S. team who have never found their groove in Vancouver.

"We felt we owed them one after the hockey last night," Canadian curler John Morris told reporters.

The United States are streets ahead of other countries in the overall Games medals tally with 24. Canada have nine and were still insisting they are the hockey superpower despite their 5-3 loss to the U.S. on Sunday.

But it was a different story in the more sedate sport of curling, another hugely popular game in the host nation, and Canada brought a packed crowd to their feet with a prolonged roar of support.

The U.S. team, tipped as potential dark horses in the tournament, had only a slim statistical chance of qualifying for the semi-finals before Monday's game.

Struggling from the start of the competition, they had tried everything from benching skip John Shuster after four consecutive losses to bringing in former Olympic champion sprinter Carl Lewis to give the players a pep talk.

The United States have won only one medal in Olympic curling, a bronze in Turin four years ago, while Canada have picked up six, two of them gold.

Canada are undefeated after eight of nine games in the round-robin tournament which precedes the semi-finals.

(Editing by Ed Osmond.)

<p>United States skip John Shuster (R) shakes hands with Canada's third John Morris (L) as skip Kevin Martin looks on after Canada defeated the United States in their men's round robin curling game at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 22, 2010. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>