P.E.I. curling coach looks to repeat success at next Olympics — but with a new team
Peter Gallant guided South Korean women's team to a surprise silver in their home country
Fresh off guiding the South Koreans to an unprecedented run to the Olympic finals, curling coach Peter Gallant is looking to make a return trip in 2022 — but this time with a new team.
P.E.I.'s Gallant helped guide the South Korean women's rink to a silver in their home country in February. He was hired on a three-year contract to coach the team and lived in South Korea for much of that time.
Now, Gallant has signed a one-year contract to work with a new team featuring established players out of Switzerland.
"Silvana Tirinzoni is a fabulous player, the Swiss skip this year at the Olympics, her team is ranked third or fourth in the world," he said. "She's combining with Alina Paetz, who is a former world champion from Switzerland a few years back."
The two will be combining with Esther Neuenschwander and Melanie Barbezat to form a new team.
Paetz skipped Switzerland to a women's world curling championships gold in 2016, but announced in mid-March that her team would be disbanding at the end of this season.
They've kind of taken two of the best teams from Switzerland and formed them into one, so they will definitely have a good chance of getting out of Switzerland, which is a pretty strong country to get out of.— Peter Gallant
Switzerland won five of six world championships between 2012 and 2016, but hasn't had as much luck at the Olympics, with their last medal a silver in 2006. Tirinzoni's current team placed seventh in the 10-team Olympic round robin.
"They've kind of taken two of the best teams from Switzerland and formed them into one, so they will definitely have a good chance of getting out of Switzerland, which is a pretty strong country to get out of," Gallant said.
The new coaching job will involve some travel but most of the work will happen in Canada. He begins working with the team in August and while it's only a one-year contract, he's hoping he can get it extended to Beijing in 2022.
"When you form a team right now in today's game, that's what teams are formed for is to try to make that next four-year run and get to the Olympics," he said. "This team is definitely a strong team."
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With files from Island Morning