Winnipeg skip Jennifer Jones is perfect en route to Olympic curling gold
Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 10:00 am
SOCHI, Russia - Canadian skip Jennifer Jones won Olympic gold Thursday, defeating Sweden 6-3 to complete her curling trophy case with an unbeaten run on the sport's biggest stage.
A steal of two in the ninth sealed the win over Swedish skip Margaretha Sigfridsson, who throws lead stones but calls the shots as skip.
Jones has now added Olympic gold to the world championship she won in 2008 as well as four Canadian crowns. In the process, she has matched Canadian skip Kevin Martin's feat of winning the Olympic crown with a perfect record.
It's Canada's second women's curling gold. The late Sandra Schmirler won the first in Nagano, Japan, in 1998.
Britain's Eve Muirhead, the 2013 world champion, defeated Switzerland's Mirjam Ott 6-5 for the bronze medal earlier in the day.
Team Canada coach Mike Babcock was in the stands to witness the Canadian win, as were several members of the Swedish hockey team.
No Canada women's team has even won a world championship since Jones' rink, without third Kaitlyn Lawes, claimed the crown in 2008. Jones beat Sigfridsson's route in the round-robin en route to that title.
Jones, Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen dispatched Muirhead in the semifinal after going 9-0 in the round-robin.
Canada downed Sweden 9-3 on the second day of the Olympic curling competition, with the Swedes shaking hands with two ends left.
It was a tough start for Officer and Lawes, who thumped her broom in disgust at one point.
Jones, who opened with hammer, had to take one in the first end after some aggressive curling by the Swedes had the Canadian skip holding last rock with three Swedish stones in the house. Jones hit and stuck for the single.
The Swedes tied it up, escaping with a single from a crowded house in the second.
Lawes doubled off two Swedish rocks as the third was blanked.
Canada capitalized in the fourth when Sweden's Maria Prytz — throwing fourth — jammed on a double attempt with last rock and Jones drew for a deuce and a 3-1 lead.
With Lawes and Officer struggling and Sweden holding hammer, Jones faced a house with three Swedish rocks counting as she threw her last stone. She hit and stuck, but leaving Sweden shot rock. Prytz tried to remove Canadian rocks for a big score but had to settle for two and a 3-3 tie.
The sixth and seventh were blanked as the Swedes put rocks in the house and Canada cleaned them out.
In the eighth, there was more action in the house. After freezes by Canada and Sweden, each team had a rock around the same distance from the button. Jones tried to draw for a possible two, happy to nudge the Swedish rock out of the way, but was short and Canada had to settle for one after a measurement.
The Swedes went down 4-3 but high-fived because they had hammer.
Jones nailed a pressure draw with her last rock of the ninth. That piled the pressure on Prytz, given the plethora of Canadian rocks in the house. The Swede wrecked her shot and Canada stole two.
Prytz looked to the skies, as if wondering what she had to deserve such a fate.
The Swedes have a rich history in curling at the Olympics, winning gold in 2006 and 2010 (via Anette Norberg) and bronze in 1998 (Elisabet Gustafson).
Sigfridsson has lost four world championship finals: as third in 2002, lead in 2009 and as skip with her current team in 2012 and 2013.