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Olympic curling star returns to ice wars

Norberg (top) and Team Ostlund (below, skip 2nd from right)

Norberg (top) and Team Ostlund (below)

When news of her Olympic team breakup came just two weeks ago, legendary Swedish women’s curling skip Anette Norberg indicated she would stay involved with her sport, and seek to nurture young talent for the future.

Norberg has taken that one step further. The two-time world and two-time defending Olympic women’s champion has formed a new team and will embark on yet another run for gold at Sochi 2014.

Norberg has joined forces with Team Cissi Ostlund, the young Swedes who lost the bronze-medal game at this year’s 2010 Ford World curling championship to hosts Canada, skipped by Jennifer Jones.

Ostlund had lost the 2010 Swedish finals to Team Norberg, but the veterans declined to compete at the worlds, preferring to focus entirely on Vancouver 2010. Ostlund and company, the 2008 world junior silver medallists, did a great job in their first adult worlds appearance and the future clearly beckoned.

But so did Norberg, who despite decades of competition and a jammed trophy case – she’s also captured seven European championship titles in her career – just doesn't want to quit. Norberg will be 47 in 2014.

“I would like to help build a competitive Swedish team, and these girls are already well on the way,” said Norberg in a statement.

“I am really looking forward playing with Anette,” Ostlund told The Curling News. “She’s a great curler with a lot of excperience and I think that we will learn alot from her. The goal is to represent Sweden in the 2014 Olympics in Russia and I definitely think that this team has what it takes to be there.

“We haven’t decided the positions in the team yet,” Ostlund added. “We’re having a meeting in the middle of June so we’ll talk about it then.”

Norberg had spoken to Reuters shortly after her Olympic team breakup and gave hints that her winning confidence is still very high.

“(My team’s retirement) doesn’t really make much difference,” said Norberg at the time. “If I continue playing, I will carry on as before. I still haven’t made a decision about the future, but if I decide to continue I’m sure I can win another gold medal.”

Norberg had also spoken highly of her apparent heirs, telling Svenska Dagbladet that “There is nothing to prevent Cecilia Ostlund from being as good as we are... (if) all four stay together and make the effort required, they have absolute potential and possibility.”

Norberg now joins forces with Ostlund, Sara Carlsson and Lotta Lennartson, the girlfriend of Swedish Olympic men’s skip Niklas Edin, to represent the Karlstad Curling Club. Former Ostlund teammate Anna Domeij has left the squad and will reportedly take a break from high-performance competition.

[Anette Norberg photo by Anil Mungal, copyright The Curling News 2010. Team Ostlund photo by Victoria Times Colonist]