Top 2014: Curlers twice golden in Sochi
This month Olympic.ca will be revisiting the top Canadian sports moments of 2014.
If there’s ever going to be ‘expectation’ for a group of Canadian Olympians, start with the curling team.
Canada has not missed the podium at an Olympic curling tournament since the sport’s re-inclusion in 1998 (three gold, three silver, and two bronze).
In Sochi, it was required that Team Jennifer Jones and Team Brad Jacobs be prepared to continue with a medal performance. And they were.
Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen rolled the competition into a neat package of thanks-for-coming-out by finishing the tournament undefeated, an Olympic record. In their pivotal semifinal against Eve Muirhead and the world champion Brits, Team Jones was almost always in control. Yet the 6-4 win came down to the final shot, which Jones placed perfectly.
In the gold medal game Canada was too much for Sweden, winning the country’s first women’s curling gold since the late Sandra Schmirler in 1998.
For skip Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, plus brothers E.J. and Ryan Harnden the road to gold wasn’t so flawless. The Canadians actually had a sub-500 record at one point, losing their second and third games to be 1-2. But a win over Russia evened things up at 2-2 and the boys from The Soo didn’t lose for the rest of the tournament.
The men’s gold medal final was evidence of the laser focus the team has become known for. Great Britain’s David Murdoch was unable to keep pace, trounced by a score of 9-3. While the Canadian women were impressive from the start, Brad Jacobs’ rink had perhaps the most dominating finish.
A new Canadian precedent has been set, with both maple leaf rinks turning in gold medal performances. God bless the curlers who have to go to PyeongChang 2018. Expectation now has a capital “E”.