The inaugural mixed doubles competition in curling came to an end with the Canadian duo of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris claiming the gold medal over Switzerland's Jenny Perret and Martin Rios by a score of 10-3.
Canada remains the only country to medal in every Olympics in curling since the sport was re-introduced into the program in 1998.
Lawes and Morris dominate to take home gold
Canada was forced to settle for two points in the first end, and gave up two right back to Switzerland in the second after Rios had an outstanding double takeout for the Swiss, and Lawes was unable to respond with a double of her own.
The third end was critical to the outcome of the match as the Swiss had a shot go wide left in the third to set up a big end for Lawes and Morris, and they capitalized, knocking the lone Swiss yellow rock out of the house on the hammer throw to score four points to take a commanding 6-2 lead.
Teams are allowed to go on one power play per match, which consists of setting up a couple of rocks in the house before the end begins and Perret and Rios opted for this in the fourth end, but they only were able to score one and the deficit stood at 6-3.
The Canadians built on their lead in the fifth with two more points. Lawes’s hammer throw was just short of scoring a potential third point, but they still took an 8-3 lead at the halfway point of the match with chants of "Go, Canada, Go" ringing through the Guengdung Curling Centre.
Two more stolen points in the sixth end put them ahead 10-3 and although Switzerland had the chance to score possibly four to make it interesting, Lawes and Morris again were able to make the perfect throws to squeeze onto the button and kill any chance of a Swiss comeback.
Post-match thoughts of both teams
Lawes stated that the Olympic title has not yet fully hit her: "It's surreal, to be honest. I don't think even the first one has sunk in and I don't think it ever will,” she said. “But it's just a dream come true to represent our country on the world's biggest stage and to be able to bring this home for Canada is so special."
Morris echoed his partners thoughts: "I don't think it has sunk in yet, but you don't have a lot of chances to go to the Olympics, especially being from Canada,” he would say. "The curlers from Canada, we have a lot of depth there. It feels fantastic, we have a lot of support back home and to be able to help our team out with a gold medal and to be able to bring it back to all our friends and family and all our support back home, it just feels amazing.”
Rios admitted the better team won, but vows him and Perret will return: "They were the better team… I just couldn't bring my best game today. I don't know why just yet. I have to figure it out,” he said."They deserved to win, they are the better team. Jenny and I will regroup and we will be back."
He would add that "It's three years of work that we put into this and it's hard to accept it now. There were some really hard moments and there were some really nice moments. Everything was worth it… In the end we take home a medal, but we will take a lot more, all the memories, all the moments we had to go through. Good moments and bad moments."
The fourth end was crucial as it broke the game open with Morris crediting his partner for her outstanding work: "Kaitlyn made some dandy shots that really put the heat on them and that four in the third end was huge,” Morris said. “They gave us a tough match, we expected a tough match and that semi-final was a battle. We're just happy to be on top here."
Lawes said "I was a little bit surprised” the Swiss conceded after the sixth end and that “We were anticipating playing eight ends down to the last rock. All the kudos to them. They are such a talented team and represented their country so well."
Finally, Lawes and Morris hope to see mixed doubles return to the next Olympics in Beijing as they have been outspoken supporters of the event joining the Olympic program.
"I think this game of mixed doubles is just fantastic. It's something that everyone back in Canada should try. It's fast-paced, athletic, a lot of fun and the beer still tastes just as good after the game,” Morris commented. "I think that it's here to stay and I can't wait to see how well it does in Canada."
Lawes added that "I really wanted to enjoy every second of it".