Switzerland ensured three-time defending champions Canada departed the PyeongChang 2018 men’s curling competition empty-handed after beating them 7-5 in the bronze medal match at the Gangneung Curling Centre on Friday 23 February.
Following a blank opening end, the Swiss (Valentin Tanner, Peter de Cruz, Claudio Paetz and skip Benoit Schwarz) stole on the next two ends to take a 2-0 lead. They threatened a third consecutive steal only for Canada (Ben Hebert, Brett Laing, Marc Kennedy and skip Kevin Koe) to rescue the situation and score two to level the match up.
IOC President Thomas Bach looked on from the stands as the Swiss compiled a solid 6-3 lead with seven ends gone. Though largely outplayed by his opposite number Schwarz, two-time world champion Koe played a superb double take-out on the eighth end to cut the deficit to one again and then restricted the Swiss to one shot on the ninth.
Trailing 7-5, the Canadians faltered again on the tenth and final end, however, with Schwarz playing a double take-out with his final stone to clinch a third bronze in the event for his country, who also won gold at Nagano 1998.
“Honestly I did think we could win a medal, but it was very, very difficult,” said Switzerland’s De Cruz. “It added a little pressure when you went into the dining hall and you saw all these athletes showing off their medals to their friends and families. I really felt a lot of pressure because of that, feeling as if it was a huge mountain to climb."
“It'll take some time to get over the sting of losing and not winning a medal,” said Canada skip Koe. “But I’m proud of the guys. We battled. We knew we didn't have our greatest A-game the whole time but I'm sure at some point we'll look back on it. I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.”