Canada wins third straight gold in men’s curling
SOCHI, Russia — Canada won a third consecutive Olympic title in men’s curling with an overwhelming 9-3 victory over Britain in eight ends Friday to complete the country’s sweep of the gold medals at the Sochi Games.
Canada beat Sweden in the women’s final on Thursday.
Playing in their typically aggressive manner, Brad Jacobs’ Canadian team pounced on a string of mistakes by Britain to take a 6-1 lead after four ends. The British conceded with two ends still available because of the large deficit.
The result matched the biggest margin of victory in a men’s Olympic final, equaling Canada’s 10-4 win over Finland in 2006 and Switzerland’s 9-3 win against Canada in 1998. After starting the round robin with a 1-2 win-loss record, Jacobs’ rink won eight straight games to live up to the lofty expectations of a country where curling ranks second only to ice hockey in winter sports.
Sweden beat China 6-4 earlier Friday to win the bronze medal.
Jacobs’ team has become the new force in curling in a breakthrough year where it followed up a national title by sweeping through the Olympic trials unbeaten — an unprecedented achievement in their curling-mad country’s storied history.
With their 6 a.m. gym sessions and bulging muscles, Jacobs, Ryan Fry and brothers E.J. and Ryan Harnden also have brought previously unseen levels of fitness to a sport sometimes ridiculed as "housework on ice."
Canada’s so-called `Buff Boys’ — with their loud, aggressive style on the ice — certainly were too strong for the British team.
Jacobs scored two points in the first end — it could have four but for a good takeout by Britain skip David Murdoch — and then three more in the third end. It even had Murdoch quietly muttering: "This is not looking good."
Already 5-1 down, Murdoch — a two-time world champion — was heavy with two routine draws into an open house and Canada stole a point. It was damage limitation for the British from then on, although a concession wasn’t possible under the tournament rules until after eight ends.
During the five-minute break after five ends, Ryan Harnden could be heard expressing bemusement at some of Britain’s shot selections. And it got worse for the British.
Canada scored two points in the sixth end for 8-2 and Murdoch botched a straightforward nose hit with the final shot in the seventh to score just one point instead of two.
The British team was in a huddle, weighing up whether to concede, when Jacobs scored a point in the eighth end. They decided they’d had enough punishment and shook hands.
Canada became the first country to win men’s and women’s Olympic curling golds in the same year.