GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Greetings from the Gangneung Curling Centre, which will be the site of some history tonight: the first gold medal match in the history of Olympic mixed doubles curling. Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris of Canada are set to face Jenny Perret and Martin Rios of Switzerland. Stay here for live updates and analysis:
• What is curling? We have answers here.
Canada Rolls Over Switzerland for Easy Gold
Canada steals two in the sixth end for a 10-3 lead, and Switzerland concedes with two full ends to play. It’s over! An absolutely dominant performance by Lawes and Morris, who had never even played together before the Canadian trials. But here they are, gold medalists. There is jubilation in the crowd. The bears are happy. And so much flannel.
At the Break, Canada Has a Solid Lead
Fourth end break: Switzerland takes just one with the hammer, and Canada has a commanding 6-3 lead. There are now guys wearing bear costumes in the Canadian section of the arena. Or at least we think they’re bears. Maybe deer? Some sort of forest creature.
Time for Gangnam Style. The crowd rejoices.
Switzerland Opens the Door and Canada Walks Through
Switzerland regained some momentum by scoring two of its own in the second end, evening the match. But a bad miss by Martin Rios in the third end opened the door for Canada — one of his stones sailed straight through the house — and a brilliant last shot by Lawes (who else?!) scored four. Canada now has a 6-2 lead heading into the fourth end. It’s still early, but the Canadians here can already sense more gold on the horizon. Have we mentioned Canada is good at curling?
Canada Jumps Out to Early Lead
In front of a pro-Canada crowd (and we know they’re Canadian because they’re wearing Team Canada jackets, flannel and “Mo’s Bros” T-shirts), Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris took advantage of having the hammer — or final shot — in the first end, scoring two to take an early lead. Yelps of “Johnny Mo” came from some of the Canadians in the crowd. Worth noting: It’s 8 p.m. here in South Korea. They may have had some pre-match … refreshments.
In any case, Lawes was a shotmaking wizard in the late stages of Canada’s semifinal win, and Morris came into the match with an 82 percent accuracy on his shots for the tournament — which we think is good? They’ve managed to put some early pressure on the Swiss team.
• First, some basics on mixed doubles. Compared to the men’s and women’s team events, mixed doubles teams throw fewer rocks per end (which are like baseball innings) and the matches themselves are shorter, lasting just eight ends versus 10. The teams are also on a shot clock, which creates some fast-paced, high-octane drama. Catch the fever!