Canada falls to Norway in Olympic mixed curling debut
- Author: Darren Santiago Feb 09, 2018,
Feb 09, 2018, 2:10
The last time Matt and Becca Hamilton faced off against Russian Federation in mixed doubles curling was at the 2017 World Championships, a match in which they were defeated 7-5. But they can only do this once, and not if the game goes into extra ends. "We had a really good team practice yesterday and got the rocks dialed in".
The pair will represent the USA for the start of competition Thursday morning in South Korea, which will be Wednesday evening in Chicago.
Canada finished second at Worlds, but neither of the players on this team, Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris, were on that team past year.
The Hamiltons wound up winning that tournament and carried that momentum forward through the trials in December. After posting the second-best record of the round robin at 5-2, they went on to beat John Shuster and Cory Christensen twice in two days to book their ticket for South Korea.
Matt Hamilton encouraged his younger sister Becca to start curling when they were both teenagers.
Team USA will be led by sibling duo Matt and Becca Hamilton who could potentially rack up over 50 hours of live play, which would be the longest of any athlete in the Winter Games.
But the 29-year-old from Winnipeg sealed things in the eight and final end with a draw to the button for the 6-4 final.
Although the 2018 Winter Games' opening ceremony is not until Friday night, the mixed curling competition got underway on Thursday, as it's the first time co-ed curling is an Olympic sport.
Lawes and Morris will have a chance to pick up two more victory on Friday, when they're back on the ice for their next matchups, facing China (1-1; 6:35 p.m. ET) and Finland (0-2; 11:35 p.m. ET).
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At the Olympic trials, Lawes and Morris had struggled with communication at times and it appeared they might miss the playoffs after going 2-3 in their first five games in Portage la Prairie, Man., but came together when they needed it most.
"We decided that we should try out for it because it is another opportunity in the Olympics", he said, noting the added advantage of competing with his sibling.
Morris, 39, won Olympic gold in 2010 playing third for Kevin Martin.
Lawes and Morris aren't used to misses on this stage.
Mixed curling is making its debut at the Olympics, and the basics are relatively simple.
But two of the four men that will represent Canada in Pyeongchang - and all four women - are Olympic rookies. For instances, there are only eight ends per match, instead of 10; there are six stones per end per team instead of eight; and matches usually only last 90 minutes.
Also, each end starts with both teams putting one stone in play before they begin throwing.
Does she think the fans in Korea understand the difference between mixed doubles and regular curling?