Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Biggar, Saskatchewan, Schmirler learned curling at high school. Her first major successes in the sport came in 1991, when she won the provincial championships as the skip (captain) of her team.
Only two years later, in 1993, Schmirler's Regina-based team also won the Canadian Championships, and were sent out to the World Championships, which they won. At this time, her name was Sandra Peterson from her first marriage; while she remarried, she would revert to her maiden name. Her rink repeated those performances in 1994 and 1997.
At the 1998 Winter Olympics, curling was first contested as an Olympic sport, after having been a demonstration sport on a number of occasions. Skipping the Canadian team, Schmirler sailed through the round-robin competition with relative ease, and in the semi-final faced the all-Scottish Great Britain rink, which was skipped by Kirsty Hay but also included a future world championship-winning skip for Scotland, Jackie Lockhart. The game surprisingly went to an extra end, and a major upset appeared to be on the cards when Schmirler shouted out "oh no!", fearing her last stone was too heavy. However, it slowed up in the nick of time, and Schmirler's team progressed to the final, where they faced the Danish rink skipped by Helena Blach Lavrsen , surprise conquerors of the formidable Swedish team. Schmirler spearheaded a deserved 7-5 victory, and secured the gold medal for Canada.
The year after her Olympic triumph, Schmirler was diagnosed with cancer, of which she died in March 2000, aged 36.
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