Bernard squeaks by Ott in women’s curling semifinal


Not even a head cold could stop team Canada skip Cheryl Bernard.

The 43-year-old’s rink came through in the clutch in another nail-biter to defeat Switzerland skip Mirjam Ott 6-5 in semifinal action of women’s curling at the Vancouver Olympic Centre on Thursday.

The win assures the home nation of a medal, as they will face Anette Norberg and team Sweden on Friday in the gold medal game.  Ott will face team China in the bronze medal game, also on Friday.

Despite battling an illness, the Canadian skip was able to prove over and over why she is known for making the big shot.

Bernard was forced to make a difficult take out with her last rock of the tenth end after the two-time Olympic silver medallist from Switzerland came through with her second-last stone, squeezing it through a space between two guards the size of a peephole.  

However, the only woman with two Olympic curling medals could not hold her last rock, stealing one point instead of two, sealing the victory for the Canucks.

Canada  scored a single in the opening end after the Grand Prairie, AB., native executed a last rock take out, giving them a 1-0 lead.

In the second end, Canada third Susan O’Connor continued her consistent play by drawing around the front guard set by the Swiss, completing a great roll over shot to the button.  However, Ott placed a perfectly precise shot right between two guards and drew it centimetres closer to the button than O’Connor’s rock, tying the game at 1-1.

Bernard had the last rock in the third end and wiped out Ott’s shot to steal two points for the Canucks.  Canada led 3-1 heading into the fourth.

The teams continued their see-saw battle, with the Swiss stealing singles in the fourth and fifth ends, and Canada stealing two points in the sixth to lead 5-3. 

Ott was unable to capitalize on several opportunities, including one in the eighth end in which her shot was heavy and rolled by the button when Switzerland had the hammer.  Instead of scoring two points, the defending silver medallists from Turin 2006 stole one to make it 5-4.

Switzerland has never beaten Canada in women’s curling.