Third time a charm? Canada's Einarson seeks to climb world curling podium
SANDVIKEN, Sweden — Kerri Einarson's quest to complete unfinished business at the women's world curling championship starts Saturday against a familiar opponent.
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, 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.
Einarson and company will represent Canada at the world championship for the third time, however.
The 2020 tournament in Prince George, B.C., was cancelled due to COVID-19.
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.
"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.
The rise of European and Asian women in the sport makes gold more elusive.
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.
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.
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 invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2023.
The Canadian Press