We just wrapped up a leaping (Brad Thiessen) good time at the Players' Championships and we are now looking ahead to the next world championship event on the curling calendar.
The World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship and World Senior Curling Championships are up next in the Season of Champions.
I don't think enough credit is given to the careful consideration and thought placed into developing these World Curling Federation logos.
When we look at the #WMDCC2023 and #WSCC2023 logos, the first striking image to the eye is the flying curling rock.
Outside of the fact the rock is yellow for mixed doubles and red for seniors, you may not notice the subtle reference the image has to the host location.
Gangneung, Korea will be the welcoming location for both championships. You may be familiar with this location as it hosted all the ice events during the 2018 Winter Olympics. And yes, that does include curling.
But the "flying rock" is not just placed within the logo by chance. It is actually a subtle reference to the host city's emblem.
Check out the Emblem of Gangneung to the right.
The reference is subtle but inclusive.
For the emblem, the red sun represents the sunrise and the blue wave represents the sea. The white background is also purposeful, representing clean nature, the citizens' mild temper and limitless potential.
Did you know Gangneung is close to a very popular tourist spot called Jeongdongjin?
Jeongdongjin is one of the most popular spots in Korea to watch the sunrise, especially on New Year's Day.
When we look back at the event logo, the curling rock is positioned like a sun while the tail end of the rock and the imagery on the bottom looks representative of the sea.
Some may say perhaps I am reading too much into the logo but I really like the careful consideration made by WCF when finalizing logo's for these major international championships.
If you have never noticed this in the past, start looking at the logo's in the future. They really do give respect to the host cities/nations.
And, as mentioned last year, WCF really should seize the day on these clever logos.
There is heavy merchandising and marketing opportunities to be made here.
Hats. Shirts. Pins. Socks. Drinkware.
Bring. It. On.
Thanks for listening to the #TwineTime TedTalk.
Bring on the world championships.
The 2023 edition of the mixed doubles championship will be a milestone event. It will mark the 15th world championship for the discipline.
Yes, 2022 would have been the 15th edition had COVID-19 not wiped out the 2020 world championship.
And while the event prepares to crown its 15th winner, there have only been a small handful of nations to stand atop the podium.
Switzerland has won the world championship a record 7 times in 14 events. A .500 success record is quite amazing.
The Swiss have also been able to #DefendTheIce on three separate occasions, going back to back in 2008/2009, 2011/2012 and 2017/2018.
But they have never been able to accomplish the #3peat.
At the 2023 championship, another nation will attempt to one up their Euro rivals. Scotland enters as the two-time defending champ and will aim to become the first nation to win 3 in a row.
And they will do so with the duo who started the winning streak in 2021: Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Mouat.
Curling fans may also be surprised to hear another European nation has had great success at this event, also winning 2 titles over the 14-year history.
No, not Sweden. They have 1 title (2019). It is actually Hungary, winning the titles in 2013 and 2015.
Russia also has 2 titles to their credit, winning in 2010 and 2016.
So while there may be 14 editions of this world championship, there have only been 5 nations to actually win gold.
And yes, Canada is still searching for that first gold medal.
Canuck curling fans are salivating for this championship. It remains the one world championship Canada has yet to claim a gold in the sport.
Canada has come close, especially recently, with winning silver in 2017 and 2019 alongside bronze medal wins in 2009 and 2018.
But Canada missed the podium last year, finishing T5th overall after making the playoffs but losing in the QF.
The mixed doubles world championship has produced many #TeamUpset results in its brief history.
Finland and New Zealand winning silver in 2008 and 2010, respectfully.
France (2011), Austria (2012), Czech Republic (2013) and Spain (2014) picked up bronze medals wins.
And Australia finished 4th in 2019.
Could a #TeamUpset emerge once again in 2023 to shock the curling world, make a deep playoff run and "steal" a medal?
Do not be surprised if is happens folks.
We know mixed doubles is the curling discipline to #ExpectTheUnexpected.
Besides, who doesn't love a good underdog story?
Of note, RCF are still not an active member association for international events and were ineligible to compete in this championship once again.
China will be re-activating their curling program heading into the next Olympic cycle though so we should expect to see more Chinese involvement on international ice next season.
China did compete at the World Mixed Doubles Qualification Event last December, losing out on securing a ticket into this field in the playoff round.
Bring on the preview....
World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship
2022 Champions: Scotland (Eve Muirhead/Bobbie Lammie)
Format: 20-nation RR with 2 pools of 10. Top 3 in each pool qualify for the playoffs. Pool winners earn bye to SF. 4 nation will be relegated to the 2023 World Mixed Doubles Qualification Event.
Group ANations (World Curling Federation MD Ranking):
Canada (1), Scotland (4), Italy (6), Czech Republic (8), Australia (10), South Korea (12), Hungary (16), Estonia (17), Denmark (21), Netherlands (38)
The rankings show a clear favourite for this competition: Canada!
Not only is Canada ranked #1 on the world mixed doubles ranking but Jennifer Jones / Brent Laing are also the highest ranking duo in the field, currently sitting #2 in the world (#1 ranked Swiss duo Perret/Rios did not qualify here).
Jones/Laing are also very familiar with this venue as Jones competed here at the 2009 World Women's Curling Championship and Laing was here for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Both finished 4th so they may have some close miss podium demons to chase off their backs.
The Canadian couple has had a strong MD season, winning a tour event in Valleyfield and qualifying for the playoffs at 3 other events. Not to mention going a perfect 10-0 to win the Canadian title only one month ago.
But lets give a co-Fav nod here to the 2021 world champions from Scotland: Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Mouat. They are ranked #6 in the world, 3rd highest in the field, and have also won a MD tour event and qualified for the playoffs at 3 additional tour events.
Plus Mouat is looking to make #HIStory as the 2nd player to win a World Men's Curling Championship and World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in the same season after Sweden's Oskar Eriksson accomplished the #DoubleDouble in 2019.
He just won the first half of the Double Double last month with his men's team. Can he accomplish the feat this week?
Plus Scotland is also attempting the record #3peat. LOTS of records looking to be achieved by the Scottish duo at this world championship.
Watch out for Denmark!
We have already seen a Denmark #TeamUpset result earlier this season when Team Dupont won the European title. Could Jasmin Lander and Henrik Holtermann do the same?
Casual curling fans may not be familiar with the Danish Duo but do not let your name recognition create a false sense of championship threat.
This duo is currently ranked #14 in the world. They have reached 2 MD tour event finals this season, an additional SF appearance and a QF result as well.
And they were here last here, missing the playoffs with a 4-5 record.
There is nothing rotten in the state of Danish curling right now and Lander/Holtermann may just continue the Denmark resurgence on the world scene here in Korea.
But if you want an even deeper #TeamUpset to potentially rally behind, get out your Hungary flags. The duo of Linda Joo and Lorinc Tatar are ranked #69 in the world and did win a tour title in Latvia this season.
Folks, this pool is STACKED with talent.
Canada and Scotland will grab the initial attention of course but notice above when Scotland was named the 3rd highest ranked team in the field. Who is the 2nd highest, behind the Canadians?
Estonia's Marie Kaldvee and Harri Lill, currently ranked #4 in the world. This is a VERY experienced duo and will be making their 6th world championship appearance, with a best result of 5th place in 2019.
Last year was a disappointment for the Estonians, missing the playoffs and just avoiding the relegation round with a 3-6 record. Consider that result an anomaly though folks. This is a consistent duo chasing the playoffs and a strong podium threat.
Plus we add in 2022 Olympic champion Stefania Constantini from Italy with new partner Sebastiano Arman. And while they have been more focused on the success of their women's and men's teams this season (with amazing results btw) they are still a force to be reckoned with on the MD ice.
And we cannot forget the MD darlings of those 2022 Olympics: Australia's Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt. They made history for Australia in qualifying for the Olympics, battled back from COVID scares and showed they belong.
They currently sit #54 in the world; however, they won the Manitoba Mixed Doubles Curling Tour Championship a few weeks ago as their tune up event and will arrive in Korea with plenty of confidence and momentum. Remember, they did finish 4th at the 2019 world championship too.
Similar to their Estonia counterparts, last year's disappointing 11th place finish is more of an upset finish on the wrong end of the positive than a trend. And they add Laura Walker as their coach, which could their wildcard advantage.
The host nation fans will have a duo to rally behind as well with Kim Ji-yoon and Jeong Byeong-jin being a dark horse playoff challenger. They currently sit #35 in the world.
The Czech duo also has world championship experience folks, having made their debut at this event last year with a 13th place finish overall. Could they use their rookie experience to move up the final standings and surprise a few of the more "experienced" teams in this pool?
Norway (2), Switzerland (3), Sweden (5), USA (7), Germany (11), Japan (13), Turkey (18), England (19), Spain (22), Austria (25)
The 2022 bronze medal winners are back and looking to extract some revenge on the competition.
While the gold and silver medal duos from last year were unable to win their way back into this field, Germany's Pia-Lisa Scholl and Klaudius Harsch are back. And this is a very dangerous tandem.
While they may only sit #25 in the world ranking, they are an experienced team who can feed off their results last year. They won a tour title in Italy this season and qualified for the playoffs in 3 other events.
Scholl will be the advantage here as this is her 4th world mixed doubles appearance but she also has 3 world mixed appearances and is fresh off competing with Team Jentsch at the women's worlds.
Harsch also is coming in off a world championship appearance, curling with Team Totzek in Ottawa. And this will be his 3rd straight world mixed doubles appearance...with his final standing result improving each time.
One of the final teams to qualify for the championship will be playing with house money being here...and that may make them very dangerous for their opposition.
Austria's Hannah Augustin and Martin Reichel were not expected to be here. They competed in the qualification event last December and surprised many with their strong results, including defeating favoured China and Turkey in the playoff bracket to earn their ticket.
They currently sit #68 in the world, ahead of major playoff contender USA even (#70). And while they have failed to qualify in their 3 tour events this season, they are 12-10 overall for the season.
If they find the rhythm here in Korea like they did in Scotland at the qualifying event, they may just surprise a few of those playoff contenders and make a push up the standings and avoid the relegation round.
Austria has not had the greatest record in the recent past at this event. Even qualifying to compete here this year will be the 1st appearance since 2019, where the nation finished 23rd overall.
Austria did win bronze in 2012 though remember.
And lets give mention to the final team to qualify for the championship: Turkey's Dilsat Yildiz and Bilal Omer Cakir. Yildiz continues to show her fight, getting back to this championship after a disappointing 1-8 result last season and being relegated to the qualifying event.
She, with her new partner Omer Cakir, lost the first qualifier game to Austria but rebounded to eliminate Finland and earn the final ticket into the field.
We have seen what Yildiz can do through her women's team results this season. Can she continue to turn heads on mixed doubles ice now?
While Pool A is full of the top ranked teams, this is a pool with familiar names as well...just ignore the rankings perhaps?
Can you guess the highest ranked team in the grouping? Most may guess USA's Cory/Korey duo due to strong name recognition. But their ranking has already been spoiled above, sitting #70. Of course this is due more to inactivity with both being focused on their women's and men's teams this season and having great success along the way.
Japan's Chiaki Matsumura and Yasumasa Tanida would be a good guess as well considering they competed at the world championships last year and just missed the playoffs with a 6-3 record. Alas they are 2nd best, ranking wise, in the pool sitting at #16.
The top ranked team, at #15, is actually Norway's Martine Ronning and Mathias Braenden. A duo who will be making their world mixed doubles championship debut!
It is tough to be noticed in the discipline when you have a duo named Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten competing in your country.
And while Skaslien/Nedregotten may be ranked #11 in the world, the duo actually skipped the Norwegian championship this year. Advantage Ronning/Braeden!
Don't write this duo off though. Remember Ronning plays with Skaslien on Team Rorvik. The same team who is coming off a silver medal win at women's worlds last month. The duo have also won 2 tour titles earlier this season, both in Tallinn, Estonia.
USA's Thiesse/Dropkin will be a force to contend with. While this may be their 1st world championship together, they have both been here before. Thiesse won a bronze medal in 2019 remember, teaming with John Shuster.
Do not overlook #19 ranked Therese Westman and Robin Ahlberg from Sweden either. While they will be making their world championship debut, they have been a consistently strong MD team on tour for the past number of seasons.
They have perhaps one of the most impressive tour titles of the season under their sliders too, winning the title in Gothenburg. They defeated Skaslien/Nedregotten in the final and Ronning/Braeden in the QF. This same event also saw Dodds/Mouat, Lander/Holtermann and Spain's Oihane Otaegi/Mikel Unanue fall in the QF.
Westman/Ahlberg also reached a tour final in Bern, knocking off Scholl/Harsch in the A-side and playoffs. This is a very dangerous team!
We also cannot have a preview without talking about another married couple competing here. Switzerland's Briar Schwaller-Hurlimann and Yannick Schwaller may just be the most dangerous team in this pool.
Briar is coming off a world championship win with her women's team (Team Tirinzoni). Yannick is coming off a world championship bronze medal win. And both just competed in the finals at the Players' Championships this past weekend.
As a duo, they may only be ranked #64 in the world, do not let that number fool you. Any duo who wins the Swiss Mixed Doubles Championship is automatically a world championship major contender. Add in their individual successes with their respected women's and men's teams and their competition should be scared.
Briar is also trying to accomplish #HERstory in becoming the 1st woman to win a world women's and world mixed doubles championship in the same season.
The only thing stopping this team from making a deep run towards the podium might be fatigue. They have played A LOT of curling (and travelling) over the past month.
We need to give a shout out to Spain's Otaegi/Unanue as well. Similar to pool competitors Austria and Turkey, they also needed to come out of the qualifying tournament to be here. After a disappointing 2-7 record last year and losing their relegation games, they turned it around at the qualifying event and defeated France and Netherlands to earn their spot.
Group A Projected Standings:
1. Canada 2. Scotland 3. Estonia 4. Australia 5. Italy 6. Denmark 7. South Korea 8. Czech Republic 9. Hungary 10. Netherlands
Group B Projected Standings:
1. Germany 2. Sweden 3. Switzerland 4. USA 5. Japan 6. Norway 7. Turkey 8. Spain 9. Austria 10. England
Relegation Games: Czech Republic def. Austria, Spain def. Hungary
Relegation Nations: Austria, Hungary, Netherlands, England
Playoff Qualifiers: Canada, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, Estonia, Switzerland
#WMDCC2022 Bronze Medal: Germany (Team Scholl/Harsch) def. Sweden (Team Westman/Ahlberg)
#WMDCC2022 GOLD MEDAL: Canada (Team Jones/Laing) def. Scotland (Team Dodds/Mouat)
World Senior Curling Championships
2022 Champions: Canada (Team White)
Format: 24 nation RR with 3 pools of 8. Top 2 in each pool plus 2 best 3rd place finishers based on DSC qualify for the playoffs.
Pool A: Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Poland
Pool B: England, Germany, Hong Kong, Latvia, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland
Pool C: Australia, Estonia, Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Slovenia, USA, Wales
The big storyline will be if Canada can continue their domination at this event. In the 19-year history of the event, Canada has played for gold EVERY TIME! And they have won the world title 12 times.
USA (3), Sweden (2), Scotland (1) and Ireland (1) are the only other nations to win the championship.
Canada's Team Rajala from Ontario will be relatively new to the world championship ice with skipper Howard Rajala being the only one with experience, having won silver as alternate in 2017.
And there will be some familiar names with world championship experience coming up against the Canadians.
Sweden's Mats Wrana won bronze last year. Switzerland's Christof Schwaller lost to Canada in the QF last year. And yes, those are some familiar last names you know very well.
But also watch out for other familiar international names like Australia's Hugh Millikin, New Zealand's Dan Mustapic and Hans Frauenlob, Scotland's Graeme Connal, Wales' Adrian Meikle, Hungary's Gyorgy Nagy and Finland's Jussi Uusipaavalniemi. Ireland will have a familiar name on the bench with 2012 champ Johnjo Kenny as alternate.
Hungary, Germany, Ireland and Norway could be waving the #TeamUpset flag by the end of this championship. Keep your eyes on those teams. How they perform against the teams in their pools will decide who advances to the playoffs, whether one (or more) of them survive or they play spoiler.
Pool B will be the #PoolOfDeath with front runners Sweden, Switzerland and New Zealand all being podium threats.
And with only the Top 2 advancing from each pool, pay particular attention to how teams handle their DSC results as those numbers will determine the final 2 playoff spots. A strong team could be sent home just due to their pre-game draw numbers.
Playoff Qualifiers: Canada, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Norway
#WSCC2023 Bronze Medal: Switzerland (Team Schwaller) def. New Zealand (Team Mustapic)
#WSCC2023 GOLD MEDAL: Sweden (Team Wrana) def. Canada (Team Rajala)
2022 Champions: Switzerland (Team Lestander)
Format: 14 nation RR with 2 pools of 7. Top 3 in each pool qualify for the playoffs with 1st place in each pool earning a bye to the SF.
Pool A: Canada, England, Hong Kong, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Sweden, USA
Pool B: Australia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Scotland, Switzerland
Canada has won 13 of the 19 world championships contested but are coming off a surprising QF loss last year to USA. Team Anderson is back once again, looking to brush off the loss last year and regain the world championship title won in 2018 and 2019.
Similar to the men's championship, Canada has dominated the women's championship. Only Scotland (3), Sweden (2) and Switzerland (1) have tasted world championship gold.
And while Switzerland enters as the defending champions, they will have a different team in the competition.
This is what makes the world senior championship so difficult. Often there are different teams competing year in and year out, for various reasons.
But Canada has been a consistent force, with Sherry Anderson back in the house for a 5th time. She will be the odds on favourite to bring home the gold.
However, it will not be easy. And the team who sent her home early last year, USA's Team Smith, is back once again...and drawn into the same pool as their North American rivals.
Team Smith will be looking for revenge of their own as well, having lost the final last year and winning silver.
Do not just assume it is a North American final on the horizon though curling fans. There are some VERY familiar names in this field, including: Scotland's Jackie Lockhart, Sweden's Camilla Noreen and Australia's Kim Forge.
Lockhart is a women's world champion while Noreen is a 3-time mixed doubles silver medal winner.
And Forge, who was born in Crossfield, Alberta, has been a consistent face of Aussie women's curling for many years, having competed in mixed doubles and Pacific-Asia Curling Championships.
A potential #TeamUpset flag bearer could come from Hong Kong's Ling-Yue Hung, who has extensive experience representing her nation in women's, mixed and mixed doubles.
Watch out for Ireland's Dale Sinclair as a #TeamUpset challenger as well. Sinclair led her Irish team to the playoffs at last year's championship.
Pool A is the #PoolOfDeath with the Big 3 title contenders (Canada, USA, Sweden) all being grouped together.
Pool B is a bit more wide open. Scotland should be the favourite but there are 2 additional playoff spots on the line and one (or more) surprise teams could shock the system.
Playoff Qualifiers: Canada, USA, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland, Latvia
#WSCC2023 Bronze Medal: USA (Team Smith) def. Sweden (Team Noreen)
#WSCC2023 GOLD MEDAL: Canada (Team Anderson) def. Scotland (Team Lockhart)
Unfortunately there will be no streaming available for the championships. Full details, including results, for #WSCC2023 can be found HERE
Remember, if you are looking for updated Draw Shot Challenge (DSC) stats, CurlIt has you covered HERE.
The curling season is not over yet either folks. The final #GSOC event of the season, Champions Cup, hits the ice in Regina, Saskatchewan at the beginning of May.
The blog will be in Regina for the entire event as we say goodbye to the 2022/23 curling season AND a fond farewell to the event itself. 😢
But, on a positive note, there may just be a few surprises along the way with the #TwineTime coverage of the Champions Cup. Maybe even a SPECIAL GUEST?!?! 😉
To those competing in Korea and chasing world championship glory, good luck and good curling...the ice is yours!
And the world is watching 👀👀
Post a Comment