Winter Olympics - Bernard stays cool as Britain end with loss

Wed, 24 Feb 03:26:00 2010

Canadian Olympic curling skip Cheryl Bernard lived up to her nickname "Last Shot" as Britain finished the women's tournament with their fifth successive defeat.

Cheryl Bernard - 0

Her pinpoint accuracy when it counts has earned her the new moniker and Canada clinched first place in round-robin play by beating Eve Muirhead's rink in an extra end to set up a play-off against Switzerland.

To get there, it took another precision shot in front of the noisy Vancouver Olympic Centre crowd.

Muirhead had a slim chance of keeping alive her medal hopes but it relied on beating Canada and then hoping a complicated and highly unlikely formula of other results went her way.

But Switzerland's Mirjam Ott made the result academic with her fifth straight victory before Muirhead lost 6-5 to Bernard.

Finishing at the top the pile earned Canada their goal of last rock, or "the hammer", in the first end of the game. That offers the best chance of putting early points on the board.

Even after piling up the competition's best record, Bernard said there was room for her team to improve rock placement.

"It's just inches and really it's not a lot. It's maybe two or three percent here or there," she said. "But when you're playing a China or playing Switzerland or Sweden, that two or three percent can make all the difference."

Ott, silver medallist in the 2002 and 2006 Games, aims to quieten the home crowd, which has generated an uncurling-like roar whenever Canada's teams have played.

The Swiss bounced back from a 0-3 start to win five straight games, thrilling their small but vocal contingent of supporters.

"It doesn't matter if we play Sweden or China or Canada. There will be a big crowd and big cheering and it will be a good game, but first we will have to play a lot stronger to win the game," Ott said.

China will face Sweden, the team they defeated in 2009 to win the World Championship.

"That was not one of our best games ever, so hopefully we'll be better this time," said Swedish captain Anette Norberg, the gold medal winner in Turin.

Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport HD (Sky 412). British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.


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