GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA – Canada was crowned the first Olympics mixed-doubles curling champion on Tuesday claiming gold with a 10-3 blowout win over world champion Switzerland.
The victory placed John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes in an elite company, the Canadians adding their names to a short list of four curlers who have won two Olympic gold medals.
Lawes, a member of Canada’s gold medal women’s team in Sochi and Morris, part of the men’s gold medal foursome at the 2010 Vancouver Games, got the Pyeongchang Games off to a rocky start dropping their opener but that would be their only blemish on an otherwise spotless run to the gold medal.
The Swiss pair of Jenny Perret and Martin Rios added an Olympic silver to their world championship title.
The final was at first a strategic tug of war between Olympic and world champions, with Canada scoring two in the opening end and the Swiss answering with a pair in the second.
But the turning point came early in the third end when Rios missed a takeout and Lawes with her final stone made a superb raise tap to give Canada a four and a commanding 6-2 lead the Swiss could never overcome.
After Canada scored a pair in the fifth end and then stole a pair in the sixth the Swiss waved the white flag conceding the gold to Lawes and Morris with two ends still to play.
For all the success Canada has had in the traditional format, winning the last three Olympic gold in the men’s competition and the women’s twice, the curling powerhouse has never won a mixed doubles world title.
In fact only three times since the International Curling Federation introduced a mixed-doubles world championship in 2008 has Canada stood on the podium.
Switzerland on the other hand has claimed the world title six of 10 times it has been contested.
Mixed doubles is making its debut as an Olympic event at the Pyeongchang Games.
The teams play just a maximum eight ends as opposed to 10, and there is no shot-calling skip as in the four-player, single sex format of the sport.
The new event has brought pace, excitement and interesting partnerships bringing together gold medal winners like the Canadians, brothers and sisters like Americans Becca and Matt Hamilton and husbands and wives like Aleksandr Krushelnitckiy and Anastasia Bryzgalova who won bronze for Olympic Athletes from Russia with an 8-4 win over Norway.