The 2018 Olympic mixed doubles curling competition started on Thursday in Korea with each of the eight teams playing two games. Going into the event, many casual curling fans expected Canada and the United States to dominate, mostly on name recognition. The Canadian team of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris are established stars on the World Curling Tour and have each won a gold medal at previous Olympics while the American team of Becca and Matt Hamilton, a sister and brother duo, also play on solid World Curling Tour teams and have received much media attention in the lead-up to the Games. However, people that follow mixed doubles closely knew that the Olympic competition was stacked with a number of very well-regarded teams. Canadian curling fans got their first wake-up call of the mixed doubles competition in the very first draw when Canada lost to Norway by a score of 9-6. The Norwegians, among the top-ranked mixed doubles teams in the world, took advantage of some Canadian miscues late in the game to steal four points over the final two ends.
For their part, the United States got the Olympic jitters out of the way early, scoring three points in the first end of their very first game against the highly regarded Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). The U.S. took full control of the game when they stole points in both the 4th and 5th ends on their way to 9-3 win. In the other two games from Draw 1, reigning world champions Perret/Rios of Switzerland defeated China 7-5 and the host Koreans took an early 5-0 lead and, after Finland had made it close, scored a four-ender in the 7th end for a 9-4 win in front of an enthusiastic Korean crowd.
Draw 2 of the Olympic mixed doubles competition saw the much-anticipated matchup between the United States and Canada. The first half of the game consisted of the teams exchanging single points for a 2-2 score after four ends. Canada then stole three points in the 5th end, the only time a team scored more than one point in any end, to take a 5-2 lead and won the game 6-4 when Kaitlyn Lawes drew the four-foot with her last stone of the game. The win for Canada was an important one, if only to calm the huge Canadian curling fan base who would have been stunned by an 0-2 start by Lawes/Morris.
In a matchup of two of the highest ranking mixed doubles teams in the world, the OAR defeated Norway 4-3 in another tight game where no team scored more than one point in any end. The host Koreans came back from a 6-1 deficit in the first half of their game against China only to lose 8-7 in an extra end. The reigning mixed doubles world champions became the only team to go undefeated on Day 1 with a 7-6 win over Finland.
After Day 1 of the mixed doubles competition, Switzerland leads the standings at 2-0 and Finland finds themselves in last place at 0-2. Every other team in the field finishes Day 1 tied with records of 1-1.
Stay tuned as From the Hack will be providing Daily recaps of curling from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.