The women’s curling Olympic title has returned to Canada at last. The teams weren’t the same as the 2010 final, when Sweden rallied on Canada’s gruesome errors to win gold, and neither was the result. Jennifer Jones and company wrapped up a perfect sweep through the Games.
Event: Women’s gold medal game, Sweden vs. Canada
Medalists: Canada, Sweden, Britain
SportsMyriad projections: Sweden, Britain, Canada
What happened: Jennifer Jones, perfect so far in these Games, looked a little uncertain in the first end. She had the hammer and needed a takeout to score one and prevent a score of three. She did, but it nearly hit a guard and nearly rolled too far away. Disaster averted, but would Jones be able to get back in the form she had shown so far in Sochi?
Maria Prytz, not the Swedish skip but the curler tasked with throwing the last rocks, scored an impressive single in the second, knocking a guard into one of her own rocks and dislodging one of Canada’s from the rear.
After a blank third end, Prytz was only able to take out one Canadian rock when she wanted two, leaving Jones an easy draw for a 3-1 lead. But Prytz got it back with a double takeout in the fifth.
Canada wasn’t looking as solid as it had. Using curling’s scoring system — four points or 100% for a well-executed shot, then three, two, one or zero for those that fall short — vice-skip Kaitlyn Lawes was shooting less than 60%, well down from her tournament average of 81%. More than once, she strolled back along the ice and slammed the tip of her broom to the floor in frustration.
They blanked the next two ends, carrying a 3-3 tie into the eighth. But Lawes again struggled with her two shots. After Prytz’s last shot, each team had one rock in the four-foot. Canada couldn’t quite tell which was closer. Jones tried to draw to the center and perhaps nudge Sweden’s rock just a bit. She did neither. The measuring stick came out, and Canada was relieved to score one and take a 4-3 lead — still less than they wanted with two ends to play.
Lawes improved with her deliveries in the ninth end, the second taking out a Swedish rock and leaving four Canadian stones in scoring position. Then Sweden’s Christina Bertrup had a rare miss, sliding her stone between two Canadians stones and out the back of the four-foot. Three Canadian stones were still in scoring position. Jones made it four with a draw to the top of the button.
Prytz responded with a raise, displacing the rock Jones just threw at the top of the four-foot but leaving one Canadian rock closer. Then Jones’ last rock covered half the button, leaving Sweden virtually no chance to score a double.
But Prytz still had a chance to score one. Instead, Prytz’s hammer was a disaster. Needing to get to the button and dislodge Jones’ stone, she instead knocked her own previous stone out of the four-foot. Canada stole two, taking a 6-3 lead into the 10th.
The 10th was anticlimactic. Canada kept clearing rocks, making a Swedish triple impossible. Jones had tears of joy in her eyes as her teammates took their final shots, and her own takeout sealed the 6-3 win and the gold.