I like throwing down gauntlets. So I am going to make a prediction:
The USA will not win a gold medal in curling.
Now, we are only through with the first session of this tournament, but I am going to make the call: the USA will, at the best, gain silver. And at the worst, well, how about no semi-final appearance.
Unimpressive performances by the women against Japan and the men against Germany are a few of the reasons why the USA side will not stand a chance.
However, here are some other reasons why the USA will not win a gold medal in curling:
1. Canadian Home Ice Advantage
This was a no-brainer.
The women have some spunk and competent throwers in Susan O'Connor, Carolyn Darbyshire, Cori Bartel and Kristie Moore, as well as an experience skip in Cheryl Bernard.
Likewise, men's skip Kevin Martin is blessed with a plethora of talent in John Morris, Marc Kennedy, Ben Hebert and Adam Enright. Mind you, they took out a Norwegian side, 7-6. And we all know how good the Norwegians are in curling.
2. The European Depth is too Strong
Aside from Norway, the Swedes, Danes, Germans, and Swiss haves sides that can get to the podium.
Sweden and Germany, in particular, have balanced men's and women's teams. Watch for Melanie Robillard on the German side. She possesses a keen instinct in taking out a guard stone on the opposing side and get the Deutsch out of trouble.
Sweden's women have years of curling experience under their belts. Led by skip Anette Norberg, the average age of this team is 37 years. As for the men, this is a young team that will be giving their Scandinavian rivals headaches. Each member of the team (with the exception of the alternate) is 24 years old, the alternate coming in at 18.
3. The Bloody Brits
Curling has its origins in 15th century Scotland. Great Britain is a curling powerhouse in spite of a number of the world's best teams hailing from elsewhere.
Nonetheless, the men and women, led by skips David Murdoch and Eve Muirhead, will be intent to bring a gold medal to its birthplace. Murdoch lost four years ago to Pete Fenson's USA side for the bronze four years ago in Turin, so you can be sure he wants revenge.
4. The Rise of Red China
They can skate. They can ski. They can do stunts and a whole lot more. But did you know they can curl?
Yes, China can do that too.
While the Chinese men's team, led by skip Liu Rui, isn't the best of the 10-team field, the women, led by skip Wang Bingyu, could be the biggest threat to Canadian home ice advantage.
Unless an act of God comes to sweep the competition away, the USA will not take curling gold at the Hillcrest Park's Vancouver Olympic Centre.
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