Much of the Prairies came to a standstill on Monday afternoon to remember and honour the life and achievements of Sandra Schmirler.
The 36-year-old Olympic, world and Canadian curling champion died last week after a nine-month battle with cancer. Her funeral was held Monday in Regina and was broadcast live across the country by CBC Newsworld and by CBC Radio in Saskatchewan.
Schmirler skipped her rink of Joan McCusker, Marcia Gudereit and Jan Betker to Olympic Gold two years ago in Nagano, Japan. The Schmirler team also won three world championships. Schmirler was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in March, 1999.
"In the last few days I've had more people tell me, 'I never met Sandra, but when I heard the news, I felt like I had lost one of my best friends'," said McCusker said in his funeral eulogy.
"Sandra has done great things for the game of curling, and for sports, especially for women's sports," said one spectator at the Briers curling competition. She came early to listen to the funeral before the competition started.
"She's a real champion, I cried when she won her gold and I've been crying a lot all weekend," said another spectator.
Schmirler grew up in Biggar, but gained worldwide fame while living in Regina.
She is survived by her husband Shannon England, and their two daughters, Sarah, 2, and Jenna, eight months.