February 22, 2010
A Danish curler was brought to tears after a boisterous Canadian crowd intentionally distracted her during crucial shots in her team's match against the home nation. With the crowd stomping and making deafening noise, Denmark skip Madeleine Dupont missed two potentially game-winning shots and tearfully blamed the fans for it afterward. Canada won the match 5-4 in an extra end.
Such boorish fan behavior is normally considered unacceptable in the genteel world of curling.
After the match, Dupont told reporters:
"I could not control the weight on the last shot in the 10th. It should have been way slower, but when there are 6,000 people yelling, it's pretty hard to find out how hard you kick off. It's just so hard to focus. You're trying, but it's just not the same as if it was silent.
"If they were yelling this much when Cheryl was throwing, that would be more fair. You can't hear anything. You can't hear what your skip is saying. You can't hear what your sweepers are saying. You just have to do your best under the circumstances – and we did, but it was hard in the 10th."
There's nothing wrong with cheering loudly before and after points, but fans need to respect the etiquette of whichever sport they're watching and act accordingly. A luger knows he's going to hear cowbells ringing while negotiating turns at 90 mph, yet it wouldn't be fair if a spectator rang one during Evan Lysacek's free skate. If a curler is used to silence, a curler deserves silence.
Even the Canadian curling team agrees. Skip Cheryl Bernard said of the boisterous fans at the rink:
"I'm guessing 75 percent in there don't know the game that well and they're just there to cheer. You have to give them something for that, but I think we need to have it a little bit quieter for the opposition because it's uncomfortable for them."
That's more an indictment of the knowledge of fans rather than poor sportsmanship. Canadian fans will have a shot at redemption this week as their team plays in the medal rounds. Hopefully they'll cheer on their hometown teams with passion, just not during the other team's shots.
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