2018 Pyeongchang: Day 1 Curling wrapup

The first event of the 2018 Olympics got underway with a new discipline in curling.

2018 Pyeongchang: Day 1 Curling wrapup
Martin Rios delivers during for Switzerland during the opening day of curling in Pyeongchang/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The 2018 Olympics have begun with the Curling competition getting underway at the Gangnueng Curling Centre in the city of Gangnueng.

The event sees a new discipline introduced this year as mixed doubles comes to the Olympics for the first time. The rules and gameplay are the same with the difference being one man and one women make up the teams.

USA, Canada split opening matches

As they are in every Olympics, Canada is the favorite to take home the gold medal and the team of Kaityln Lawes and John Morris took on Norway, who sent out Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten.

After a quiet first end that saw the Canadians pick up one point, Norway stunned their heavily favored opposition with three points in the second and after Lawes and Morris scored three of their own in end three, end four saw Skaslien and Nedregotten even the match at 4-4 with a single point in the fourth end.

Skaslien yells out a command during Norway's victory over Canada/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Skaslien yells out a command during Norway's victory over Canada/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After a successful raise by Lawes gave the Canadians a 6-4 lead heading into end six, it was Norway who surprisingly took control. Skaslien performed a successful takeout in the sixth end to level the score at 6-6 and Lawes' failed raise meant Norway stole a point in the seventh.

Leading 7-6, Canada still had the advantage of last rock, but again Lawes misfired and Norway came away with a surprise 9-6 victory.

Lawes and Skaslien shake hands at the conclusion of the latch/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Lawes and Skaslien shake hands at the conclusion of the latch/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In their second match, Lawes and Morris defeated the USA duo of Rebecca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton 6-4. A match that was tied at 2-2 going into the fifth end turned the Canadians' way when Rebecca Hamilton's double takeout failed and Lawes and Morris scored three points.

Lawes delivers as Morris sweeps her shot during Canada's match against the United States/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Lawes delivers as Morris sweeps her shot during Canada's match against the United States/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The brother-sister duo from Madison, Wisconsin scored a single point in the sixth and seventh ends to pull to within 5-4, but Lawes' successful draw in the eighth and final end gave Canada the point they needed to secure a much-needed victory.

Earlier in the first session, the Americans opened the competition with a comprehensive 9-3 win over the Olympic Athletes of Russia, represented by Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushletnickii.

Rebecca Hamilton's double takeout gave the USA a quick three points in the opening end and after the OAR got two back in the second end, the Americans slowly pulled away, one point in the third, one point in the fourth and Krushelnitckii's failed double takeout giving the USA two more points and a 7-2 lead.

Matt and Rebecca Hamilton deliver a stone down the ice during the Americans' victory over the Olympic Athletes of Russia/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Matt and Rebecca Hamilton deliver a stone down the ice during the Americans' victory over the Olympic Athletes of Russia/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After Hamilton and Hamilton scored two in the seventh, Bryzgalova and Krushletnickii decided to shake hands and concede the victory to the Americans. Following this match, Krushletnickii came up with a clutch raise in the eighth end to give the OAR a 4-3 victory over Skaslien and Nedregotten.

Swiss star on day one, China find controversy

The team of Jenny Perret and Martin Rios from Switzerland won both of their matches on the opening day. First, they needed a ninth and extra end to defeat the duo of Rui Wang and Dexin Ba 7-5.

A match that swung back-and-forth seemed to go in the Swiss' favor after Perret's terrific draw gave them a 5-4 lead heading into the last end, but Wang's raise gave China the point they needed to force an extra end where Perret's takeout gave her and Rios the deciding two points to claim victory.

Perret came up with several clutch shots during Swtitzerland's two victories/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Perret came up with several clutch shots during Swtitzerland's two victories/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

During that eighth end in which China tied the match, there was a moment of controversy when their red stone lay at the very center for the first shot but it was not clear whether they had secured two shots, which would have won them the match, or one, which would have tied it up at 5-5.

Dexin removed the central stone to allow a judgement but immediately after doing so, both teams froze as it appeared he had accidentally nudged the Swiss stone further away from the centre.

In fact, both Switzerland’s Rios and Ba had their hand on the stone when it was moved away. Ba protested, asking for a measure: “I don’t think I touched it this way.” However, the umpire refused to measure the two stones and ruled it one shot to the Chinese team, forcing an extra end.

Dexin was involved in the first controversy of the Pyeonchang Olympics/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Dexin was involved in the first controversy of the Pyeonchang Olympics/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

They followed that up with another dramatic victory, this one coming over Oona Kauste and Tomi Rantamaeki of Finland. After Switzerland jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two ends, Kauste's draw got Finland on the board, trailing only 3-2.

Again, the Swiss led big, this time 6-2 after six ends, but again the Finns fought back. Kauste's takeout made it 6-4 after seven and Perret's rare bad shot, a failed draw, tied the match at 6-6 heading to the final end.

It was there that Kauste failed on a draw of her own to hand the Swiss the point they needed and a 7-6 win. Kauste and Rantamaeki had earlier lost to the host team of Hyeji Jang and Kijeong Lee of South Korea 9-4.

China edges South Korea in thriller

The other match to take place was China's exciting 8-7 victory over South Korea. Wang's draw in the opening end gave the Chinese two points and her promotion takeout in the third increased the lead to 5-1.

The hosts roared back when Jang's spectacular fifth-end takeout pulled the Koreans within 6-5, the four points the most scored by any team in a single end on this first day.

Jang nearly brought the hosts all the way back with two spectacular takeouts/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Jang nearly brought the hosts all the way back with two spectacular takeouts/Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Her seventh-end takeout evened the score at 7-7, setting up a dramatic final end. However, the hosts were to be disappointed Wang's final-stone takeout sealed victory for China.

Day two schedule

The third session of the competition and first matches on day two see South Korea face Norway, the USA go up against Switzerland, China meet Canada and the Olympic Athletes of Russia square off with Finland.

Following that, Canada plays Finland, China faces the Olympic Athletes of Russia, the USA meets South Korea and Switzerland squares off with Norway.