Good things come in threes? Gimli, Man.’s Einarson seeks top of world curling podium

Kerri Einarson‘s quest to complete unfinished business at the women’s world curling championship starts Saturday against a familiar opponent.

Team Canada opens against the host Swedes skipped by Anna Hasselborg.

Einarson edged Hasselborg 8-7 in an extra end for the bronze medal in 2022.

Einarson, vice-skip Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Harris out of the Gimli Curling Club in Manitoba won a fourth straight Canadian women’s championship last month in Kamloops, B.C., to match the record held by Colleen Jones.

Read more: Hoping third time’s the charm for Team Einarson at World Women’s Curling Championship

Einarson and company will represent Canada at the world championship for the third time, though, since the 2020 tournament in Prince George, B.C., was cancelled due to COVID-19.

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Einarson finished sixth in Calgary’s curling bubble world championship in 2021 before earning bronze in Prince George last year.

The skip said in Kamloops her team had unfinished business on the world stage.

“I think that we learned a lot from 2021 to 22,” Sweeting said after the final there.

Read more: Kerri Einarson’s curling team wins fourth straight Canadian women’s curling title

“I remember thinking last year, how different it would have been if we got that first world championship in 2020, so it’s kind of brought up some old wounds.

“We were super-pumped to get that bronze. We kind of let the semi slip away. But we want to enjoy the experience and then make Canada proud and, yeah, we want to get to the top of the podium there.”

Canada’s 17 gold medals all-time is the most by any country, but Canadian women haven’t won a world title since 2018 when Jennifer Jones prevailed in North Bay, Ont.

Fresh off winning a record-tying fourth Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Harris are jetting off to Sweden in pursuit of their first women’s world title. Einarson watches the shot while playing Manitoba during the final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, in Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The rise of European and Asian women in the sport makes gold more elusive.

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Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni seeks a fourth straight world title this year.

Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa and 2018 Olympic champion Hasselborg claimed Olympic silver and bronze medals respectively last year in Beijing.

Fujisawa edged Einarson 6-5 in November’s Pan Continental Championship semifinal en route to gold in Calgary.

The 13 competing countries will play out of the Goransson Arena in Sandviken about 190 kilometres north of Stockholm.

The top six advance to playoffs with the top two earning byes to the March 25 semifinals.

The remaining four play off earlier that day. The medal games are March 26.

Read more: ‘Absolutely amazing’: Team Kerri Einarson to represent Canada with Women’s Worlds back on

Einarson’s alternate Krysten Karwacki will likely get ice time in Sweden if Canada builds a large lead in a game.

That provides a breather for Harris, who is pregnant with a June due date.

Einarson faces 2021 bronze medallist Tabitha Peterson of the United States on Sunday.

Einarson beat Peterson 7-5 for the bronze medal at the Pan Continental, which was a new event to qualify teams from the region for the world championship.

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Tuesday’s game against Tirinzoni is a big one for Canada.

The Swiss have a new front end this season, but Alina Paetz delivering fourth stones is among the best throwers in the world.

Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont, Germany’s Daniela Jentsch, Italy’s Stefania Constantini, Norway’s Marianne Roervik, New Zealand’s Jessica Smith, Scotland’s Rebecca Morrison, South Korea’s Seung-youn Ha and Turkey’s Dilsat Yildiz round out the field.

Morrison withdrew from last year’s world championship in Prince George on opening weekend because of COVID-19 cases in her lineup.

Russia remains banned by the World Curling Federation this season because of that country’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Click to play video: 'Kerri Einaron’s team achieves four-peat title win in Canadian women’s curling'
Kerri Einaron’s team achieves four-peat title win in Canadian women’s curling

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