The above photo was posted on Twitter by Team Sidorova last week. Many curling fans (and curlers themselves) were surprised to see that Team Sidorova would be travelling to Canada without longtime lead Ekaterina Galkina. In her place, Alina Kovaleva would be throwing lead stones.
As a big fan of Team Sidorova (to say the least), I too was surprised and I wished to find out more. Thanks to the magic of Google I found this article. Although I wish I did, I don’t read/write/speak Russian, so I had to rely on Google once again to translate the article for me. Basically, the article stated that following the grind of the previous season, Galkina felt like she needed a short break. After talking to Anna Sidorova at the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard though, it sounds like it might be a bit longer than that. Listen for yourself below.
As when I initially heard the news, I was surprised to hear this additional information. Google translate is imperfect at best, so it’s quite possible that the article from rsport.ru said exactly what Anna told me and that some context was lost in translation. In any case, like I said to Anna though, it’s totally understandable. Galkina has been playing steadily for at least a decade, including appearances in 10 European Championships, 10 World Championships, and 3 Olympic Games. Needless to say that’s a long time to spend significant time away from home and your loved ones. Sometimes you just need a break. I’m sure that this wasn’t an easy decision for Galkina to make, as Team Sidorova is a close-knit unit, in many ways more like a family than a team. No doubt that her teammates will miss her on tour this year, and I’m sure she’ll miss them as well. As a fan, I’m going to miss seeing Galkina on the ice this season, but I’m hopeful that she will return at some point in the future. Whether she chooses to return or not, I’m confident that she will make the right decision both for herself and her team, and I wish her the best.
As for Team Sidorova, I have no doubts that they will have another excellent year, and I’m confident that they will have even greater successes than last season. Kovaleva is a very capable lead, and while she is the youngest on the team she comes with lots of playing experience, including skipping the Russian Women’s team to a gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Curling Championships. Like Anna said, there will be some period of adjustment, but based on what I saw in Oakville things are looking good. It’s going to be another busy and challenging season, but I think Kovaleva is up to the task and will fit in well with Team Sidorova.
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