There was much debate in the weeks leading to Pyeongchang about whether Team Canada was at a disadvantage heading into the Olympic mixed doubles competition because the field was filled with experienced “mixed doubles specialists” while Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris were entering only their second competition together, their first one being a victory at the Canadian Olympic Trials.
As it turns out, mixed doubles come down to which team makes key shots in key moments and, in the gold medal final, that was Team Canada. Aided by a few misses from their opponents, Canada dominated the game from the outset and, from the moment that Kaitlyn Lawes made a tap-back for four points in the 3rd end, the final result was never in question. The Canadians seemed calm and composed throughout while the reigning world champions from Switzerland looked rattled from the outset and were never really given a chance to work themselves into the game. The 6th end seemed promising for the Swiss as they looked to be on the verge of scoring multiple points with Canada ahead 8-3. However, both John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes made brilliant shots on their last stones, and Canada stole two points to clinch the gold medal.
Following the game, John Morris told the media: “…You never know how many times you’re going to be able to get to an Olympics. It’s just such a privilege if you can get to one. So, the fact that we’ve been able to come to two and getting through such a tough country like Canada and wearing that maple leaf on your back, the pressure is always on you. Whether you’re a hockey fan or a curling fan everyone wants you to bring home that gold. So, it’s so great we were able to do that, winning a gold medal.”
Meanwhile, Kaitlyn Lawes shared how it felt to be a two-time Olympic gold medalist: “It sounds surreal and I don’t know if it’s ever going to sink in. The first one still hasn’t yet, to be honest. It’s an incredible honour to represent your country at the world’s biggest stage and to be able to bring home a gold medal with John is an absolute honour.”
Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris will go down in the record books as the first-ever gold medalists in Olympic mixed doubles curling and both add a second Olympic gold medal to their collection.
In the bronze medal game, it was the OAR that took early control of the game taking a 5-2 lead into the 4th end break. Norway narrowed the gap to 5-4 in the 5th end but the OAR scored one in the 6th and then put pressure on the Norwegians in both the 7th and 8th which led to steals in both ends for an 8-4 victory. The team of Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, playing under the banner of the OAR, become the first athletes from Russia to win an Olympic medal in curling.
Following the bronze medal game, OAR coach Vasily Gudin spoke of the importance of this medal to the Russian curling program moving forward: “This absolutely makes a difference to the Russian Curling Federation. We’ve waited since the beginning of Russian curling, now we have a medal. It’s very important for our Federation and us. Now all the work has some material result and it means a lot.”