|USA finishes fourth|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2010
USA finishes fourth at 2010 Paralympic Winter Games
(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) -Augusto Perez and Team USA couldn't put a bronze glow on their finish at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games as Sweden knocked the Americans off the medal stand with a 7-5 defeat in the bronze medal game tonight. Canada repeated as champion.
For the second straight year at this venue, Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.) and teammates Patrick McDonald (Orangevale, Calif.), James Pierce (North Syracuse, N.Y.), Jacqui Kapinowski (Point Pleasant, N.J.) and James Joseph (New Hartford, N.Y.) finish fourth and without a medal to go with the bronze they earned in 2008 at the worlds.
"That's the way the cookie crumbles. You gotta look at where we've come since Torino. This year we made it back to the medal rounds again," said Perez, a two-time world champion in outrigger canoe.
The U.S. improved from 2-5 in Torino to 7-4 here this week at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.
"It was a good run," McDonald said. "For me, being a first-time Paralympian, this experience was amazing."
The win today for Jalle Jugnell's Swedish team tops a trying last few days as their vice skip was disqualified yesterday due to a failed drug test for the use of a beta blocker called metoprolol.
Much like many of the other U.S. games this week, the bronze-medal match had a dramatic finish but this time it wasn't for a win for the Americans. Needing to steal a single to force an extra end, USA's Kapinowski got her second stone buried in the four foot and the U.S. protected it until Jungnell made a tap-back of one of his stones in the top of the rings to push it about a quarter of an inch closer to the button than the U.S. stone. The U.S. debated for about four minutes as to whether to try a tough raise that really wouldn't produce much or to draw around the guards and hope the stone would curl enough to make the difference. The end result was the raise attempt that didn't change the outcome. Jungnell opted not to throw his last stone, confident that the measurement would be in his favor.
"We did consider the draw but we didn't think we could bend it enough to count. We thought the rock would hang out too far. We had the right idea with our last shot but it was a tough raise," Perez said. "That was a crappy shot."
The U.S. started all 11 games of the tournament with the last rock in the first end. Today it didn't help them as the Americans got off to a horrible start, spotting Sweden three points when the U.S. accidentally kept bumping Swedish stones toward the button. With Sweden already having one stone tucked behind the center guard, McDonald bumped in a second Swedish rock and the U.S. was scrambling for an answer in the first end. Perez was unable to tap his stone forward for any points and actually promoted one more Swedish rock up for the three-point steal.
"Instead of trying to tap, a hit and roll was the better call," Perez said after the game.
Despite the slow start, the U.S. tried to get the offense rolling throughout the rest of the match but Sweden met them shot for shot.
Kapinowski , who has finished 52 marathons, got two stones in the house for the U.S. in the second end and things were evolving better but the U.S. was still limited to just a single. Pierce converted a double takeout to limit the Swedes in the third end to a single as well. With the last-rock advantage back in hand, the U.S. tied the game in the fourth with a critical three points as the Americans protected two stones around the four-foot and Perez tapped forward the third to get back in the game.
They'd force Sweden to a single again in the fifth and got to work in the sixth end but things didn't go as planned as Perez ended up drawing against three Swedish rocks but was heavy and floated his stone to the back of the eight foot to give a point to Sweden. The seventh end unraveled much like the sixth with Sweden piling in the stones and the U.S. chasing and missing out on opportunities.
Canada's Jim Armstrong rink held off a late rally from Korea's Haksung Kim to earn the gold in front of just under 5,000 cheering fans. The gold-medal game concluded about 10 seconds after the measurement in the bronze-medal game was determined.
A draw for four by Armstrong in the fourth end and it looked like it was lights-out time for Korea. But the resilient crew battled back and scored a deuce in the fifth end. Korea got two stones molded onto the button in the sixth end that would last throughout the end as Armstrong was unable to remove them with an up-weight takeout as Korea inched closer. Korea would steal one more after getting two stones in the house and Armstrong could only chip one out. Korea tried in earnest to extend the game but Armstrong clinched the gold medal with takeout.
"It's tremendous and it's overwhelming," Armstrong said. "This game really showed that the best part of Wheelchair Curling is that no lead is safe."
"It wasn't that we were playing bad in the second half. They [Korea] were just making their shots and started whittling away at the lead," Armstrong said.
NBC will air a two-hour highlights program from the 2010 Paralympic Games on NBC Sports from 3-5 p.m. ET on April 10.
The official site of the U.S. Paralympic Team, www.usparalympics.org, will also offer daily video and news highlights of the competition from Vancouver. Also check out www.paralympicsport.tv for on- demand feeds.
Bronze medal line score:
*USA 010 300 10 5
Sweden 301 011 01 7
Gold-medal line score:
*Canada 310 400 00 8
Korea 001 022 11 7
*last stone in first end
1. Canada (gold)
2. Korea (silver)
3. Sweden (bronze)
6. Great Britain
USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, Nike, bitRail, Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is partnered with CurlingZone.