After a blazing start, Laura Nagy (HUN) and Nathan Young (CAN) survived a spirited comeback from Chana Beitone (FRA) and Nikolai Lysakov (RUS) to win the curling mixed doubles final at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Nagy and Young burst out of the blocks, leading 7-0 after three ends of the eight-end final, only to have Beitone and Lysakov win the next three ends to bring the score to 7-5.
Rising to the challenge, Nagy and Young steadied, scoring a point on each of the final two ends to win 9-5 before an appreciative crowd at the Champery Curling Arena.
In the bronze medal final, Pei Junhang (CHN) and Vit Chabicovsky (CZE) defeated Kobayashi Mina (JPN) and Leo Tuaz (FRA) 7-3.
The mixed doubles event paired a male and a female player from different nations. Rankings from the mixed team event, contested in the first week of the Games, determined the composition of each duo.
Young and Nagy had not so much as nodded at each other before being brought together by the random draw. Both speak English well, with Nagy attending an international school in Hungary.
“At the start of the week being thrown together, we weren’t sure how it was going to go down but now we’re very happy,” said Young, 17.
“The fact we could communicate easily helped, and the trust and belief between us kept growing. Laura’s last rock shots were clutch, her first rock shots were clutch and I managed to make a few as well.”
Young had his own fan club in the crowd, with his parents, two sets of grandparents, his sister and a former coach all making the trip from Canada.
Having been presented with her gold medal immediately after the final, Nagy’s next big decision was what to do with her prize.
“At home I have a shelf which has all of my medals and cups and everything. I guess I’m going to put this one right in the middle,” she said.
Bronze medallist Chabicovsky said he hopes to remain in contact with his partner, Pei.
“I would like to but I don’t think they have social media sites in China, so I’ve kept the contact details of her coach,” he said.
Chabicovsky explained that he and Pei both speak some English and their only problems on the ice occurred when they could not understand each other’s accents.
“Maybe we will get better with our pronunciations for next time,” he said.
While curling only had two gold medal events, the sport has taken place on 12 of the 13 competition days of Lausanne 2020.
The mixed team event concluded on January 16. Norway beat Japan in the gold medal final, with Russia claiming the bronze.