Team Ulsrud going is back in Switzerland this weekend in search for their first event win this season. The team lost the Baden Masters final to 2006 Olympic champion Brad Gushue from Canada. Two weeks ago they entered the very first China Open in Beijing, coming in 3rd after Canada’s Mike McEwen and the home nation’s Riu Liu.
This is the first event of the season for many European teams, starting already on the 30th of August. Ulsrud & Co won the event back in 2008, then sporting in rather plain outfits, especially compared to what we’re seeing today. This year they made it all the way to the final, only to see themselves beat by Brad Gushue in an extra end. The guys were undefeated up until that point, beating the Swiss teams Werthemann, Freiberger and Hess, Danish Rasmus Stjerne and reigning world champion Niklas Edin from Sweden.
The 2008 version of Team Ulsrud at the Baden Masters
China Open 2013
The China Open was meant to be a mini-world championship, with all the teams representing their nations, playing on arena ice and being awarded medals. The plan seemed good enough, but the ice was a major issue in boiling hot Beijing.
- After the first practice we saw how the ice was going to be, and after that just agreed to focus on having fun, said both Thomas Ulsrud and Christoffer Svae after returning from China.
Even though it was late September in Beijing, temperatures outside were close to 30 degrees celsius.
- The arena temperature was maybe 18 degrees inside the arena, I was in a t-shirt skipping the team and even I sweated like crazy, said skip Ulsrud.
The Beijing Capital Gymnasium where the event was held, will also be the arena for the 2014 World Men’s championship next year. It’s safe to say they have a few things to work with.
Flipping the lineup
Fun fact: Håvard used to play skip in juniors, representing Norway at the WJCC in 2004.
Team Ulsrud lost out to Chinese Riu Liu in the semi-final before picking a bronze medal in a 9-2 game against Scotland’s Logan Gray. It was in the bronze medal game that the guys decided to flip their lineup upside down, with Ulsrud playing lead and Håvard Petersson playing skip.
- There wasn’t any prize money in the competition, so we figured, what the heck? Thomas Ulsrud explained.
The lineup seemed to work wonders for them however, scoring three in the 2nd before stealing the next five consecutive ends.
Swiss Cup Basel
The Swiss Cup Basel is one of the better tournaments on the tour, and it has been for years. This year a total of 40(!) teams will participate, and to make that happen the organizing committee has changed the tournament format from triple-knock to round-robin. The winner of this years event will take home 14 000 Swiss francs, close to 100 000 Norwegian kroners, something that would cover a steak dinner or two for the boys.
The boys seemed to be in a good mood during their last practice before heading towards Basel, Switzerland.