Five-star show from Great Britain as curling crew set new Olympic benchmark
Great Britain made Olympic history by becoming the first women's curling team to record a steal of five points in a single end as they raced to an impressive 12-3 win over Japan at the Ice Cube Curling Centre.
The teams scored two points each from the first two ends, Great Britain taking the initiative in the third when skip Eve Muirhead doubled their tally with a nose-hit on a Chinese stone.
A single-point steal in the fourth extended the lead to 5-2, and the victory was sealed in the seventh when, with five British stones sitting in the house, Japanese skip Ayumi Ogasawara clipped one with her last stone to concede that record-breaking five-point steal.
Victory took Great Britain to equal third in the round-robin stage, with three wins from five.
China were the session’s other big winners, defeating Republic of Korea 11-3 in what was a re-run of the 2013 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships final. Three points in each of the second, fifth and seventh ends contributed to a comfortable win that saw the Koreans concede after eight ends.
Chinese skip Bingyu Wang explained that her team had to overcome a sense of familiarity en route to a comprehensive victory that sees it share third spot with Great Britain.
“These two teams play each other all the time, so we know each other well,” she said. “We played very well and came out strong. We took our chances and we held our game together too.”
Russia, meanwhile, fought out a tight game against Switzerland – eventually coming out on top with a 6-3 win. With the hosts 2-1 up after the third end, the Swiss pegged them back to 2-2 in the fourth. The Russians responded in the sixth when skip Anna Sidorova raised her own stone to tap out a Swiss counter, adding another two points.
After a sole response from Switzerland in the eighth end, Russia scored two more points in the ninth to see out an important victory in front of another enthusiastic home crowd.
Sidorova was thrilled by their reaction, saying: “First it's pleasant to hear the crowd. During the game I was just trying to think about the game, but it was nice at the end.”
Russia’s win brought them level with the Swiss in fifth place.
After blanking the first end, the Danes scored two points in the second when skip Lene Nielsen played took out two USA stones to establish a lead that they never relinquished.
Two points in the fourth end and another pair in the sixth gave them a 6-2 lead, and further scores in the next three ends went unanswered to produce a resounding victory.
Skip Lene Nielsen said that her side’s first win was little surprise after improved recent performances. “That's been a long time coming, but we've been playing better and better,” she explained.
Women’s standings after 7 sessions:
1. Canada 5-0
2. Sweden 4-1
3. China 3-2
3. Great Britain 3-2
5. Russia 3-3
5. Switzerland 3-3
7. Japan 2-3
7. Korea 2-3
9. Denmark 1-5
9. USA 1-5