The big news at the curling venue on Sunday was a report that mixed doubles bronze medalist Aleksandr Krushelnitckii of Russia, competing under the OAR banner, had failed a drug test during the competition. If the reports prove accurate, it is likely that Krushelnitckii and Anastasia Bryzgalova will be stripped of their medals. The likely scenario is that Norway, who lost to the OAR in the bronze medal game, would be awarded the medal. We will provide more news on this story as it develops.
The Canadian women’s curling team was in a hole, an increasingly deep one, when they gave up three points to Switzerland in the 6th end of their game on Sunday to fall behind 7-4. Coming off their first win of the competition in their previous game, many thought that Rachel Homan and her team had turned a corner and that they would start showing the form that has made them the best team in the world over the past two seasons. However, the team appeared to revert to the form that had caused their supporters consternation over their first three games in Korea. When play started in the 7th end it certainly looked like Canada might fall to 1-4 but the team responded with six points in the final four ends of the game for a 10-8 win that might soon be viewed as an important turning point should the team reach the playoffs. The key moment in those final three ends was a three-ender by Canada in the 9th end when Rachel Homan made a hit for three after a failed double-takeout attempt by Switzerland. Canada won the game when Silvana Tirinzoni missed a difficult tap-back in the 10th end that allowed the Canadians to steal the final point of the game.
The Canadian team now finds itself in 6th place in the standings with a record of 2-3 and have games remaining against three of the teams ahead of them in the standings including Great Britain, China and Japan. Despite the win, Rachel Homan and her team still have much work to do. The Canadian curling contingent has to find a way to help Joanne Courtney regain her confidence. One of the better hitters and sweepers in the women’s game, Courtney has struggled to find her form in Korea and the Canadian team need to help her find her groove and gain confidence as they move forward in the round-robin.
Meanwhile, Sweden won their sixth straight game of the round-robin defeating Great Britain 8-6 in an extra-end. Anna Hasselborg had an open hit for two with her last rock of the game after Great Britain’s Eve Muirhead hogged her final stone of the extra-end. In the only other women’s game of the day, Korea built and 10-2 lead in the first half of the game on their way to a 12-5 win over China.
Sweden remains atop the standings at 5-0 followed by Japan and South Korea at 4-1. There are four teams tied at three losses including CHN, GB, CAN and USA while DEN, OAR and SUI are at four losses.
In men’s play on Sunday, Switzerland played a very strong game in handing Canada its second loss of the round-robin. The Swiss opened up with a four-ender in the first end which forced Canada to play catch-up throughout most of the game. The experienced team from Calgary never panicked and worked their way back into the game and were down 7-6 in the 9th end when Benoit Schwarz made a clutch shot against three Canadian stones two score one point and seal the victory. Both Canada and Switzerland are now 4-2 in the round-robin. It is way too early for Canadian curling fans to panic about the men’s team, they have played well throughout the week and they were not badly out-played in either of their losses.
Sweden continued their dominance over the field with an 11-4 win against Japan to improve their record to 6-0. It was a much tougher day for the American team which lost its games against Japan and Norway to fall to 2-4 while the Norwegians worked their way back into the thick of the playoff race with victories against Denmark and the U.S.
Great Britain is at 3-3 following a win over the Italians who dropped to 2-4 while Japan split their two games on Sunday and also finds them at 3-3. The host Koreans lost to Denmark on Sunday dropping their record to a disappointing 1-5 while Denmark moved to 2-4.