There may be a lot of curling knowledge stuck in your writer’s noggin, but as the years continue to scroll by its quite obvious some recollections have fallen from the mental filing system onto the dusty floor.
The recent exhibition match between Sweden’s top male and female teams was the impetus of this story, which tracks some of the more notorious gender confrontations dating back to the 1970s.
However, I temporarily forgot about an earlier all-Swedish battle of said sexes that took place in 2007, and it requires a recap.
One year after winning Olympic women’s curling gold at Turin 2006, Anette Norberg’s foursome took on Peja Lindholm’s men’s squad at Sweden’s Danderyds Curlinghall. As the poster illustrates, it was a bit of a big deal–televised and also streamed online, just like last week’s Hasselborg/Edin tilt.
We even published a blogpost preview back in the day, featuring a different version of the poster, with a pre-clickbait clickbait-y title of: Kicking Peja’s Ass.
That title came from an exclusive quote Norberg gave us before the match, and it was a juicy one:
“I’m looking forward to a close and aggressive game, ending up with us kicking Peja’s ass. That would be awesome!”
It didn’t quite happen.
“We won that battle and it was a close game,” said Peja from China, where he coaches the Chinese national teams.
“I don’t have too many memories from the game. They had built up stands very close to the sheet. I had a new team that year and they weren’t that experienced with media and public attention, so some of them were nervous about the crowds and TV cameras.”
With news of the recent cancellation of the world women’s curling championship in Switzerland, Lindholm just arrived home in Sweden after spending five consecutive months in China. Assuming the upcoming Canadian women’s and men’s championships don’t break the Calgary bubble, the three-time world champion skip will meet up with his Chinese men’s team for the worlds in the Alberta capital starting April 2.
Norberg and her team were just fine after losing that 2007 challenge match. As curling fans know, the squad–then heavy metal superstars–went on to win a second Olympic gold medal at Vancouver 2010 and added a third world championship crown in 2011.
After announcing her team’s retirement in 2013, Norberg won a battle with breast cancer and recently returned to the ice, winning a World Curling Tour cashspiel title with her daughter and also competing for Sweden at the 2018 and ’19 world seniors.