The top story at the curling venue continues to be that OAR (Russian) curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, a bronze medalist in mixed doubles last week, tested positive for a banned substance and his case has been sent to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) for a hearing that is expected to be held on Tuesday in Korea. There is a very good possibility at this point that the team of Krushelnitckii and his partner/wife Anastasia Bryzgalova will be stripped of their medals although an appeal is likely if, in fact, they are stripped of their medals.
To the surprise of no one that follows curling closely, there is very little that has been decided in both the men’s and women’s Olympic competitions with only two days left in the round-robin. In the women’s event, Korea continues to please the home crowd with a record of 5-1 that puts them alone at the top of the standings. The Koreans will need to stay focused as they are set to play two teams that will be fighting for their playoff lives in the USA and Great Britain and defeats against both those teams would drop the Koreans into the logjam at three losses.
The Japanese ladies earned an important victory over Sweden on Monday and are at 5-2 but still must face Switzerland and Great Britain, two of the top five teams in the world, in their final two round-robin games.
The Swedish team found themselves at the top of the standings for most of the competition but have now lost two straight games. With a record of 5-2, the Swedes have an inside track to the playoffs but will need to be more opportunistic in their two remaining games.
The United States and Great Britain find themselves at three losses along with Canada and either the British or the Canadians will fall to four losses as they are set to play against each other later in the round-robin. The Canadians also have games remaining against the OAR and a Chinese team that finds itself at 3-4 and will need teams to fall back to them if they hope to qualify for the playoffs. The three teams that are currently out of the playoff picture are Switzerland, the OAR and Denmark but each of these teams will get a chance to play spoiler. An interesting side note for Canadian fans is that the only win for Denmark so far this week was their victory over Canada.
In the men’s competition, Sweden has dominated most of its games this week and are 6-1 with their only loss coming to Switzerland who sit second in the standings at 5-2. The Swedes have secured a spot in the playoffs while the Swiss have the inside track on a second playoff spot.
There are four teams currently tied with three losses including a Canadian team that has lost three consecutive games after starting the round-robin at 4-0. Team Koe has lost games to SWE, SUI and the USA and now finds itself in the midst of a tight battle for a playoff spot. The Canadians have games remaining against the Japanese team that also sits at three losses and Denmark at 2-5.
The other two teams with three losses are Norway and Great Britain and they play each other in the next draw which means that one of them will drop to four losses. The United States is at four losses and still has an outside shot at the playoffs but they will need to defeat both Switzerland and Great Britain in their remaining games.
The teams from Korea, Italy and Denmark are tied at 2-5 and will look to play spoiler.