U.S. women’s curling team is down four straight losses: Can they come back?


Jessica Shultz of the United States releases the rock for sweepers Debbie McCormick, left, and Ann Swisshelm, right, on Tuesday. (Wong Maye-E / AP Photo)

The U.S. women’s curling team followed its monumental loss to Britain on Tuesday with another defeat today — this time to China, moving its win-loss record to 0-4.

Thankfully for fans of the Americans, however, the team went down to China in only mild flames compared to the record-breaking flames it went down in when the British rink burned the U.S. women by scoring seven points in a single end (or on non-curler speak, round). The final score was 3-12 after the mercy rule was invoked and the game was called early.

Considering that, a 4-7 loss to China means things are looking up.

But there’s a long way to the top. The U.S. women’s team would have to, ahem, sweep the rest of the competition. Basically, they’d have to win every single qualification game from here on out to even make the semifinals.

Fans will learn Thursday whether they’ll need to keep their “USA!” chants going when the United States will face Japan — a team that currently has a winning record of 2-1, including a win over Russia, one of the teams the U.S. women lost to.

Of course, while sports analysts may be thinking more bleakly about the U.S. women’s chances at a medal, the team is keeping its hopes up.

“Anything is still possible here. You don’t have to be the hottest team at the beginning of the week. You need to be the hottest at the end,” U.S. curler Ann Swisshelm told USA Curling. “We’re getting a little better with each game.”

The fans hope so.

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Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.

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Rick Maese · February 12, 2014