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Changing of the guard in curling

Re:Curling begins Wang dynastyToronto Star logo

Curling moved one step closer to becoming a professional sport yesterday while forever shedding its image as a "white man's game". China's victory was the inevitable result of the support they give their athletes. While officially students, the reality is that Wang's team have devoted nine intensive years to mastering the game.

This is not to take anything away from China's victory. Top Canadian teams also attract sponsorship dollars and collect reasonable amounts of prize money to allow them to concentrate on the game. The game itself is changing and that fact needs to be recognized.

With the increased levels of competition, Canada's Jennifer Jones rink again discovered that you need to bring your "A" game to international competition. Canada's key advantage of having the most curlers and the most tournaments is no longer sufficient to ensure victory. Other teams are coming to Canada to play while the sport is developing in their home countries.

Canada's disappointment at being shut out from the medals is going to be repeated many times until we put the necessary resources behind the sport. This includes building new facilities so that our young players can learn to play early.

Unfortunately, while the sport is growing internationally, Canada has been closing more facilities than it has been building. This trend has to be reversed.

Gary Dale

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