Greatest curling moments in Team Canada history
If you’re excited about the curling competition at PyeongChang 2018, you’ve got good reason to be — Team Canada has enjoyed plenty of glorious moments since the sport was enshrined as a regular event at Nagano 1998.
There’s even more excitement to be had this year, as mixed doubles has been added to the Olympic program, joining the men’s and women’s events in which Canada has had much success.
But before this year’s Games get going, let’s take a look back at the country’s greatest moments in Olympic curling.
Schmirler the (Golden) Curler
The legendary Sandra Schmirler was the first Canadian skip to hit the top of the Olympic podium, winning gold at the inaugural women’s event in Nagano, alongside Jan Betker, Joan McCusker, Marcia Gudereit and Atina Ford.
The last throw of the gold-medal game was a simple takeout for Schmirler, but it was enough to ensure a 7-5 win over Denmark and a place in the history books for her Saskatchewan rink.
The win was made all the more poignant by the fact that Schmirler died just two years later of cancer, at the age of just 36.
Six in the sixth in ’06
In the round robin of the men’s tournament at Turin 2006, Canada battled back and forth with Finland, but would eventually fall short in an 8-7 loss. When those two teams met again in the gold medal game, it was a whole different story.
The Canadians exploded for six points in the sixth end (remarkably, it could have been seven!) to go up 10-3. The Finns conceded after the eighth end, giving Canada a 10-4 win and its first Olympic gold in men’s curling.
Brad Gushue was joined by fellow Newfoundlanders Mark Nichols, Jamie Korab and Mike Adam, as well as Ontarian Russ Howard, in that historic run.
Home ice advantage
A whole lot went right for Canada’s athletes at Vancouver 2010, including Kevin Martin’s rink from Alberta. The Canadian men dominated in the round robin, winning five of their nine games by five points or more.
For Martin and teammates John Morris, Marc Kennedy, Ben Hebert and Adam Enright, the gold-medal final was a tense contest against Norway in front of a partisan packed house at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.
But when Martin took out a Norwegian stone in the 10th end to seal a 6-3 victory, the tension transformed into jubilation as Canada celebrated its third-ever gold in curling and 13th gold in Vancouver (en route to a record-setting haul of 14).
A long-awaited double
Canada reached the podium in both women’s and men’s curling in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010, amassing three golds, three silvers and two bronzes in the sport. But the women and men had never struck gold at the same Games… until Sochi 2014.
Jennifer Jones’ rink from Manitoba—featuring Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen and Kirsten Wall—blazed through the round-robin stage, going undefeated through nine games, but found themselves in a squeaker of a gold-medal game against Sweden.
The Canadians managed to steal two in the ninth end to go up 6-3, before a straightforward takeout by Jones in the 10th (nearly a carbon copy of Schmirler’s winning shot 16 years earlier) clinched the victory.
A day later, Brad Jacobs’ Northern Ontario rink—featuring Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden and Caleb Flaxey—booked their own spot atop the podium with a 9-3 win over Great Britain. Jacobs coolly drew to the four-foot with the hammer in the sixth end to put Canada up 8-2, all but winning the game for his side.
Canada will look to go even further and claim an unprecedented triple curling gold in PyeongChang, with the mixed doubles pairing of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris beginning round-robin play on Feb. 7 (Canadian time), Kevin Koe’s rink getting underway on Feb. 13 and Rachel Homan’s rink playing their first draw on Feb. 14.