olympic sports

Sochi recap: Curling, day 3

The U.S. men’s drought is over at last. The U.S. women are still winless.

Date: 12-Feb

Sport: Curling

Event: Day 3 of group play, with two men’s sessions and one women’s.

How U.S. fared: Strange game for the U.S. men, but they’ll take it. John Shuster only had the hammer twice in 10 ends. Denmark got three with the hammer in the first end, Shuster answered with two, and then we saw either a blank or a U.S. steal for six straight ends. Denmark finally scored two in the ninth end to cut the lead to 7-5, but Shuster scored two in 10th, proving his hammer wasn’t rusty. (Sorry.) They had a bye in the evening session, so they couldn’t build on their momentum.

The U.S. women are just in a puzzling hole. Their decisions backfire. Their shots are ever so slightly off. Erika Brown just slightly missed a double takeout (not an easy shot) in the fifth end, giving China an easy shot for two and a 3-2 lead. In the sixth, China got a lot of rocks in the house and forced Brown to make a difficult draw for one. She made it, but China got another break when Brown’s hit-and-roll in the eighth was just an inch or so shy of where it needed to be, and China picked up another deuce. Brown and Debbie McCormick needed to hit big shots in the ninth and 10th, and they couldn’t quite do it. China 7-4.

What happened: 

– Morning session: Only three games instead of the usual four in this one, including the USA’s win. The other two games were tied going into the 10th, and the teams with the hammer won — China 5-4 over Switzerland, and the flashy-panted Norwegians 8-5 over Germany.

– Afternoon session: The showdown between contenders Canada and Britain came down to this in the fifth end. Tied 3-3, Canada had the hammer. Britain’s final shot left this:

curling1

 

So that yellow rock (Britain’s) in the blue circle looks good, right? Canada would have a difficult shot just to get one, let alone anything more than that. Right?

Canada’s response:

curling2

 

So the rock Jones threw hit one of her own red rocks (see the empty circle), knocked it nearly straight ahead and set off a combination that removed the yellow rock. Got it?

(Diagrams from this World Curling Federation site that generates one of these images for every shot. Great stuff.)

Meanwhile, Sweden had little trouble with South Korea in a 7-4 win, and Japan silenced the Russian crowd (if that’s possible) with an 8-4 decision.

– Evening session: Canada took four in the fifth and never looked back against Russia, winning 7-4. China led 8-7 with the hammer going into the 10th and took advantage of Germany’s necessary aggression to take three for the 11-7 win. Britain and Sweden scored nothing but singles, with Britain winning 4-2.

Full results | Men’s standings | Women’s standings

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