Two BC athletes were integral to Team Canada’s gold medal victory at the Youth Winter Olympics mixed curling competition.
The Canadian team, skipped by Mary Fay of Chester, N.S., got a 10-4 win over Luc Violette of the U.S. in Wednesday’s gold-medal game in Lillehammer, Norway.
Tyler Tardi of Surrey, B.C. and Sterling Middleton of Fort St. John, B.C., were the two male curlers on the mixed team. Karlee Burgess of Brookfield, N.S. and coach Helen Radford of Halifax rounded out the team.
The foursome scored five in the first end and never looked back.
“We knew that we want to take the hammer and we knew that we want an easy two,” said Burgess after the game. “But when we got a five, it was like, ‘Wow. Let’s just keep this going.’ ”
Trailing 9-4 in the seventh, the U.S. put up two corner guards, but Canada peeled away every attempt by their opponents to generate offence. In the end, Fay had an open tap-back for one — and the team had a gold medal to celebrate.
“Representing Canada at the Youth Olympics, it’s an unbelievable feeling. I don’t know what to say about it, it’s just an incredible feeling,” said Tardi.
This Youth Olympics gold medal marks the end of a long year of training the Canadian team, which began this journey a year ago. The 2016 Youth Olympics team was determined based on applications from all age-eligible players in Canada, with a special focus on participants in the 2015 Canada Winter Games last February in Prince George, B.C., where Fay and Burgess won silver, representing Nova Scotia, and Tardi and Middleton won bronze as Team B.C.
“These are the three best teammates that we could have had,” said Middleton about the Youth Olympics experience. “We worked together, we picked each other up, all on the same level, and we got it done this week.”
Fay and Burgess will be back on the international stage in a few weeks – representing Canada at the World Junior Curling Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“It’s just hard to believe, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that you brought the gold medal home for your country,” Fay said. “I feel so lucky to live in Canada. It’s an amazing place, so many amazing people. It’s so amazing, I can’t really put it into words.”
At the first Winter Youth Olympics, in 2012 at Innsbruck, Austria, the Canadian team of Thomas Scoffin, Corryn Brown, Derek Oryniak and Emily Grey captured a bronze medal, behind gold-medallist Switzerland and silver-medallist Italy.
With the team competition concluded, the players will now be split into mixed doubles teams, with players from different countries matched into new combinations, determined by the athletes’ position within their teams and their nations’ overall position following the traditional team competition. The mixed doubles gold- and bronze-medal games will take place on Sunday at 7 a.m. EST.
Live scoring, pictures and team lineups are available at www.worldcurling.org/yog2016.