Gemmell, who was born in Toronto and resides in Blind River, Ont., was inducted in the curler/builder category. As a curler, she won two Canadian senior women’s championships, in 1990 and 1993, as second and lead, respectively, for Ontario skip Jill Greenwood.
She also skipped British Columbia and Northern Ontario at the Canadian Seniors and skipped the United States at the 1991 world curling championships in Winnipeg.
As a builder, she was one of the driving forces behind the birth of the Northern Ontario Curling Association, an amalgamation of various regional curling associations.
Suzuki and Olson, both of Winnipeg, played third second respectively for late Manitoba skip Lloyd (Gunner) Gunnlaugson, when the team won a record three consecutive Canadian senior men’s titles from 1982-84. The team’s record while winning the titles was an astounding 30-4, capped by an undefeated 11-0 mark in 1984 in St. John’s, N.L.
Gunnlaugson, who died in 1988, was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1989.
The inductees will be recognized at the annual general meetings of their respective provincial curling associations.
But fortunately they stayed for the final rock of the world mixed doubles curling championship, as they got to see us step up on the podium and accept our bronze medals after rallying for a 6-5 win.
China came out with guns blazing and we had no answer, giving up five straight steals to dig ourselves a big hole. But teammate Alli Nimik stuck a run-back for three points to cut the deficit to 5-3 and give us some life with two ends left.
Alli threw the first and fifth rocks this week in the mixed doubles format, leaving me with stones two, three and four.
We then stole two points in the seventh after China racked a guard on a take-out attempt with their last rock. Tied at 5-5 on the final end, the Chinese male player tried to pick our shot rock off the button but instead took two of his own out.
We made two guards with our final rocks, leaving the Chinese female player with a difficult angle-raise take-out for the win. It looked good most of the way down, but caught the swooping curl at the end and left us with the winning steal.
But the Chinese pair — the players on the men’s and women’s national teams — were impressive all week and we got a first-hand look at how Canada is no longer the single dominant force in curling.
In fact, the team from Hungary looked like world-beaters when they edged us 7-5 in Friday’s semifinal.
The Hungarians, though, couldn’t keep the magic going as they fell 7-4 to Switzerland in the gold-medal match.
For the Swiss, it was their 19th win in a row at this event as they also ran the table at last year’s inaugural world mixed doubles championship.
Winnipeg’s Sean Grassie is with Team Canada at the world mixed doubles championship.
After a 9-5 win over Australia on the morning draw, teammate Alli Nimik and I edged New Zealand 6-4 to finish with a perfect 8-0 mark.
Our attention turns to tonight’s semifinal against either Finland (6-1), Hungary (6-2) or the Czech Republic (6-2). Switzerland (8-0) and China (7-1) meet in the other semi.
Against Australia, it was perhaps the last competitive curling game for their male player Gerald Chick, the second on Bob Ursel’s 1985 world junior champion team out of Winnipeg. Chick says the time and expense of traveling 12 hours to find practice ice in New Zealand is getting to be too much. Australia has only one curling sheet that is set up on Wednesday nights at an ice rink in Brisbane.
Chick says he is relinquishing his mixed doubles position to teammate Jennifer Thomas’ son, Max, who is here this week as the team’s coach. At just 14, Max would have to be one of the youngest to have coached at a world championship of any sport.
Meanwhile, the superb play of the New Zealand team that went 4-4 got a lot of people talking here this week. But maybe their performance shouldn’t be a surprise given how dedicated Scott Becker and Brydie Donald were in preparing for this event.
Becker and Donald say they travel almost every weekend of the year to the same good curling ice in New Zealand that Chick practices on. For Becker, it takes him nearly five hours to get there.
Suitable practice ice is hard to come by in New Zealand because outdoor curling is much more popular than the indoor variety.
Becker says there is an annual two-day bonspiel played on a pond in Oturehua that has been around for over 100 years and follows many of the original traditions of the game. Teams play 21 ends, sweep with corn brooms and bring their own stones with them.
Sean Grassie is with Team Canada at the world mixed doubles curling championship.
Surrounded by the beautiful dolomites, we dined on an outdoor patio and were soothed by the warm sun and the exquisite landscape. It was a nice break, as we’ve been winning games down to the wire here this week.
One of those was against England, even though we built up a 9-1 cushion after four ends. The resilient English duo chipped away at our lead with a deuce in the fifth end, a steal of two in the sixth, and another stolen point in the seventh before we ran them out of rocks in the final end to win 9-6.
The English team put up a good fight despite coming from a country that hardly embraces the sport of curling. There are only about 300 curlers in England, and the only curling rink in the nation is two hours away from where the mixed doubles team of John Sharp and Jane Clark reside.
To find competition and suitable practice ice, Sharp and Clark say they travel to Scotland and around Europe to do most of their curling. In fact, the pair played their English mixed doubles championship last October in Scotland because the ice in England wasn’t deemed good enough to play on.
Meanwhile, our win over England put us at 6-0 heading into the final day of round-robin play today. Just behind us in the Red Division is Finland at 6-1. Switzerland (7-0) and China (6-1) lead the other two groups.
The top two countries in each pool advance to tomorrow’s playoffs, and we can secure first place with a win today over either Australia or New Zealand.