There were two men’s draws and one women’s draw on Wednesday in Pyeongchang , the first day of competition in those two events after the conclusion of mixed doubles . There were a few surprises in the men’s event to start the competition but the two teams that finished tied atop the standings , certainly weren’t a surprise . Canada and Sweden were the co-favourites going into the men’s event with both Team Edin (SWE ) and Team Koe (CAN ) ranked in the top three in the world . The Swedes and Canadians likely expected a relatively easy day with Sweden appearing a bit more dominant to start the competition . The Swedes defeated Denmark 9-5 in a game where they had a 7-2 lead after six ends and followed that up with a strong performance against Korea , winning 7-2 while shooting 93% as a team in their second game .

The first day was more of a grind for Canada , starting against a pesky Italian team that managed to keep the game close until the end . The two teams were tied 1-1 at the 5th end break and it took a strategic mistake , attempting a near-impossible double-takeout for two points rather than drawing for one point , by the Italians in the 6th end for Canada to take it’s first lead by stealing a point . That steal seemed to change the momentum in the game , and Canada went on to defeat Italy when Kevin Koe made a ” Plan B ” double-takeout with his last rock of the game for one point and a 5-3 victory . In their second game , Team Canada was up 4-1 and dominated the first half against Great Britain while keeping the pressure on their opponents . Great Britain fought its way back into the game by stealing a point in the 6th end , cutting Canada’s lead to 4-3 and forcing Koe to draw against three in the 8th for a 5-3 lead . Canada ultimately won the game 6-4 with a single in the 10th end that started with the British Lead hogging his first rock. Some Canadian curling fans might be panicking already because of the two close games for Canada on Day 1 of the men’s competition but the reality is that they won two games , never gave up more than a single point in any end while still getting familiar with the ice and the conditions with a crowd inside the building .

The two biggest surprises of the day in men’s action were the play of the Italian team that competed well with in their 5-3 loss to Canada and the struggles by Switzerland, a team that many expect will challenge for a medal at these Olympics . Peter de Cruz and his team lost a close game against Great Britain , but it was their loss against Italy that could come back to haunt them later in the competition .

The host Koreans , a team that has played very well on the World Curling Tour this season , struggled on Day 1 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd . Although their loss against Sweden may have been expected , the Koreans likely viewed the game against the U.S. as a ” must-win ” if they hope to be in the playoff mix. The 11-7 loss to the Americans has now put the Koreans in an early hole in the standings but Chang-Min Kim and his team now have a full day off to put Day 1 behind them and start fresh in their next game against Norway .

When they think of Norwegian curling at the Olympics many fans will think of the colourful pants worn by Team Ulsrud . However , the Norwegians were not the only team to make a statement with their attire on Day 1 as the American team came out in an all-white uniform that many on social media compared to a painter’s outfit . The U.S. is unlikely to change their outfits following their 11-7 victory over Korea but the Norwegians might want to reach for a new set of designer pants after losing 6-4 to Japan in their opening game .

The first draw of the women’s event saw several teams show some early Olympic nerves while some of the pre-event medal favourites showed that they came to play . The biggest surprise of the first draw may have been China’s 7-2 victory over Switzerland , a team that many believe is a gold medal threat in Korea . The Swiss fell behind 4-1 in the first half while giving up steals in consecutive ends while managing to score a single point in only two ends before conceding after the 8th . The skip of the Swiss team , Silvana Tirinzoni , struggled in her first Olympic experience shooting only 56% in the game . The Swiss men’s and women’s teams went a combined 0-3 on Wednesday , certainly not the start they were looking for .

Sweden and Great Britain are both expected to challenge for medals this week and they got off to excellent starts . Anna Hasselborg and her team showed little nerves in their first-ever Olympic game with the Swedes taking a 5-1 lead into the 5th end break in their game against Denmark and going on to a 9-3 victory . Meanwhile , Eve Muirhead and her team from Great Britain are looking to improve on their bronze medal performance at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi , Great Britain certainly looked like an experienced side as they handily defeated the 2017 European champions playing under the banner of the OAR by a score of 10-3 .

Many observers view Nina Roth and her team from the U.S. as a team to watch in the Olympic competition . They played well at the World Championships last year against a similar field and have played very well for most of the current season . However , the American team showed some early nerves at these Olympics falling behind 7-0 in the first three ends of its game against Japan, leading to a 10-5 defeat . The good news for the Americans is that Nina Roth and her 3rd Tabitha Peterson are much , much better than the combined 50% they threw in their first game.

The two teams that are likely to get the most crowd support during the week , Korea and Canada , did not play in the first women’s draw and will meet in Draw 2 .

 

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Olympic Men’s and Women’s events – Day 1 Summary