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American curling bronze medal!
American curling bronze medal!
These Winter Olympics just got more exciting! With an American for the first time winning a bronze medal in curling that icy shuffleboard. Lots of strategy and precision in this slow mo sport. Still a medal is a medal...
U.S. Wins Its First-Ever Medal in Curling
February 24, 2006 10:57 AM EST
PINEROLO, Italy - Pizza Pete Fenson is bringing home a slice of the Olympics - the first U.S. curling medal ever. The American men won the bronze by beating Britain 8-6 on Friday in the consolation game, jumping to an early lead and then clinching the victory with a simple draw to the middle of the target in the final end.
That put the United States on the medal stand along with more traditional curling powers Finland and Canada, who play later Friday for the championship.
Fenson, a Minnesota pizzeria owner, broke into a smile and gave a salute with his broom as his last shot settled into the scoring area. But the victory was especially emotional for teammate Shawn Rojeski; it was the second anniversary of his mother's death.
"I knew it was going to be an extremely difficult day for me today," Rojeski said. "This team is extremely satisfied with the way they played today - and for myself, it's that much of a better moment, for sure."
In addition to being shut out at the three previous Olympics where curling was a medal sport, the American men hadn't medaled at the world championships since 1978.
"Everybody was not expecting us to do well here," Rojeski said. "But we were pretty confident coming in that we could be contenders. We were definitely OK with coming in here and not being the No. 1 favorites."
Britain was shut out of a medal one Olympics after Scottish housewife Rhona Martin threw the "Stone of Destiny" to win the gold medal in Salt Lake City. David Murdoch's team is also from Scotland, which is considered the birthplace of curling.
"It's massively disappointing," Murdoch said.
With the Americans holding the big last-rock advantage known as the hammer for the final end, or inning, they played defensively and kept the British from building any protection. Murdoch had one rock in the target area, and he put his last rock out front as a guard.
But Fenson had an open draw around the right to get inside of Murdoch's rock and give the U.S. the bronze.
The Americans took control with three points in the third end and made it 6-2 with a pair of points in the sixth. But the British rallied with three points in the seventh end when Murdoch knocked out an American rock and left his in the scoring zone, along with two others.
Britain's best chance to win came in the ninth, when it held the big last-rock advantage known as the hammer. But it could only manage one point - essentially holding serve.
The hammer went over to the Americans in the 10th end, and they used it to set up the winning shot.
"As soon as that shot stopped," Fenson said of Britain's last rock in the ninth, "I knew I would be drawing for the win. The guys just had to keep it open so I would have a path."