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Team Canada Skip Jennifer Jones yells after throwing a shot while playing against Team Yukon/Northwest Territories during the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. (Nathan Denette)
Team Canada Skip Jennifer Jones yells after throwing a shot while playing against Team Yukon/Northwest Territories during the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. (Nathan Denette)

BOB WEEKS

Wild year in the roaring game Add to ...

Any list of the past year's great curling moments will, of course, be highlighted by the events in Vancouver at the Winter Olympics. But there was much more to curling in 2010.

Here are my Weeksy Awards for the past year:

Weirdest, Saddest Award - Shortly after winning the gold medal at the Paralympics, wheelchair curling skip Jim Armstrong was arrested in Blaine, Wash., after collecting a package from China containing pills labelled Viagra and Cialis. In October, Armstrong and his son, Greg, pleaded guilty to selling and dispensing counterfeit drugs with the intent to mislead or defraud. They are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 28.

Almost As Good Award - After famously flaming out at the Canadian Curling Trials, Jennifer Jones and her rink stormed back to win their third consecutive Scotties Tournament of Hearts. She credited the win to gleaning all sorts of insight from spending two weeks on the media bench at the Olympics sitting beside Yours Truly while she provided reports for Yahoo.com. (At least that's my version and I'm sticking to it.)

Thanks For Coming Out Award - After winning the Canadian title and finishing third at the world championships, Jones and her teammates dumped third Cathy Overton-Clapham from the rink. Cathy O said the move "blindsided" her. No kidding.

Ya, But What Have You Done Lately Award - Despite spending two weeks in the world's eye while winning Olympic silver and becoming known in the American press as a "curlgar" (a play on the term cougar), Cheryl Bernard had to resort to putting her team's image on three Calgary billboards to gain sponsorship for the 2010-11 season. The move paid off as a local car dealership and Dairy Queen agreed to back the squad.

Underdog Of The Year - The PEI rink at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts became the darlings of the event and possibly the country after narrowly losing the championship in an extra end - which would have been the tiny province's first at a men's or women's level. Last-rock-thrower Erin Carmody won the Sandra Schmirler Award as the most valuable player of the event.

The Definition Of Curling Award - According to The New York Times, curling became popular on Wall Street due to it being shown on CNBC, which switched to the roaring game after coverage of the markets ended for the day. After a hectic pace in the financial world, traders found the slow speed of rocks on ice attractive. "It's like drinking merlot," said Douglas A. Kass, the president of Seabreeze Partners hedge-fund firm.

You Think This Is How Kevin Martin Has It Award: An HBO special profiling the five members of the U.S. men's Olympic team showed them living together in a cramped two-bedroom apartment in Duluth, Minn., where, they admitted, no one would recognize them. They were also shown prepping for the 2010 Games by drinking Mountain Dew and eating double cheeseburgers from McDonald's.

Best Dressed Award - The Norwegian men's curling team arrived at the Games sporting slacks manufactured by Loudmouth Golf. The brightly coloured, wildly patterned trousers become a hit and a Facebook.com page for them attracted more than 600,000 followers. Sales of the pants - originally targeted for golfers and worn by PGA Tour player John Daly - surged in local curling clubs, surprising the company, whose president admitted he didn't anything about curling before the Olympics.

Sick Of Second Award - After losing the final of the Canadian Curling Trials to Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard and his Ontario team regrouped to win 12 consecutive games to reach the final at the Tim Hortons Brier. Unfortunately, they lost that, too, 6-5 in an extra end to Kevin Koe. "You never get over it," Howard admitted of being a runner-up.

Da, I Mean Nyet Award - In April, the Russian Curling Federation recruited Winnipeg's Jason Gunnlaugson and two teammates to curl for Russia, asking them to take citizenship and represent the country in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But after the team won the national title, Russian officials changed their minds and dropped the mercenary curlers without explanation.

 

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