Friday, March 31, 2006

WMC: Team Profile Fenson

Meant to do a profile yesterday, but life got in the way, so today I'm going to try to get the last two in. First up is Team Fenson, also known as Team USA.

The United States was supposed to be a force to be reckoned with on the Pinerolo ice, we were heavily favored to go home from the Torino games having won the nation's first curling medal. This was after the women dropped two games during the semifinals on the ice in Provo in 2002, leaving with 4th place.

The only problem? It was our women who were favored, not our men. It was the Curl Girls who were supposed to be decorated, whereas Pete Fenson's team was supposed to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. Well, the Torino games are now history, and the Curl Girls fell apart while Pete Fenson made a quiet run where he just kept not losing games. When all was said and done, it was the pizza man from Minnesota who stood on the podium in the Torino piazza, having beaten out the Scottish team for the bronze medal.

The new problem? No one will be overlooking the United States now. There's a very real chance that we surprised a few teams in Torino, but now all the expectations in the world are being heaped upon us. Not only has the US team walked away witha surprise medal in Torino, but it's also the host nation for this bonspiel. It's not going to be on the Bimidji ice where Fenson and Johnson both grew up curling, but it is American ice. Of course it's American ice close enough to Canada for the curling-mad Canadians to fill the ice house in Lowell. But that's a matter for the next team profile.

If the US can pull off another strong performance, and end up in the Page Finals, it's going to be huge. We've done well at world championships in the past, but it would be great to see Team Fenson become a legitimate power on the world curling stage, and not just a one time fluke in Torino.

Not bad for a pizzaria owner.

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