Sweden outplay host nation in women’s curling final
Sweden won the gold medal in the women’s curling final, defeating the home nation 8-3 at the Gangneung Curling Centre on Sunday, 25 February.
Sweden, the silver medallist in curling from Sochi 2014 and gold medallist from Vancouver 2010 and Turin 2006, entered the match as favourite to win at PyeongChang 2018. The Republic of Korea (ROK) rink – who made their Olympic debut at Sochi – showed significant improvement over the course of the tournament. They embarked on a seven-match winning streak during the round robin matches that included a 7-6 win over Sweden.
The Swedish rink - Anna Hasselborg (skip), Sara McManus, Agnes Knochenhauer, Sofia Marbergs and Jennie Waahlin (alternate) – grabbed the early ascendancy by scoring two stones on the third end when ROK left their final shot short.
The ROK rink of Kim Eun-jung (skip), Kim Kyeong-ae, Kim Seon Yeong, Kim Yeong-mi and Kim Cho-hee (alternate), who enjoyed strong local support throughout the tournament, picked up a shot on the 6th end but faced a difficult task to overhaul the experience and skill of the Swedish rink.
Using the hammer (final shot) on the seventh end, Swedish skip Hasselborg cleared the house of a ROK stone and left three of her own, increasing the lead to a near-impregnable 7-2.
The rink of the home nation fought hard and Kim Eun-jung used the hammer to claw back one shot on the eighth end, but Sweden used the same advantage in the ninth to take a stone and an 8-3 lead that prompted a concession from the ROK rink. That handed the gold medal to Sweden, while the ROK team won its first-ever Olympic medal, a silver.
Hasselborg paid tribute to her team after the victory. “We did the game of the week when we needed it in an Olympic final. I'm so proud of my girls. It was an amazing game to play,” she said.
“When we were in the final I just focused on every shot. It felt nervous, but I was just there in the moment. It was when the handshake comes up, then it felt amazing.”
Added team member Knochenhauer: “Our own pressure was the most pressure. We really wanted to do this and we knew we could if all of us played really well.”
Kim Eun-jung was gracious in defeat. “We had a chance to beat Sweden in the final today, but as we all know, Sweden is a great curling team,” she said.
At the beginning of the game, whatever we did, shot by shot, they tried to protect it. Today's game, they owned it. Sweden was perfect today.Kim Eun-jung Republic of Korea