February 18, 2019

Laurier grad John Morris takes home gold in Pyeongchang

14 February 2018, 10:46 | Devin Moran

Mixed curlers strike gold in Korea

Canada's Kaitlyn Lawes celebrate after winning their mixed doubles curling match against Switzerland at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung South Korea Tuesday Feb. 13 2018. Canada won gold

With a skilled throw from Kaitlyn Lawes to finish off the end, Canada scored 4.

"It feels fantastic", Morris said after the pair stood on the top of the podium at the Gangneung Curling Centre. This is for everybody back home, who have always been supportive and it just feels so great.

World champions Switzerland slipped past a jittery Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation team on Monday to join Canada in the final of the mixed doubles curling in the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

In the first running of this event at any Winter Olympics, the Canadian team of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris swept their way to first place and led by seven points before Swiss counterparts Jenny Perret and Martin Rios called time. Lawes won with Jennifer Jones at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, while Morris won with Kevin Martin in 2010 in Vancouver. In the sixth end, Lawes slightly bumped a Norway stone that was on the button to give Canada shot rock.

Canada came a long way since the announcement three years ago that mixed doubles curling would be an Olympic sport.

By the end of the fifth, Canada was ahead 8-3. A resilient tandem, they made mistakes in South Korea and learned from them, outscoring their opponents 64-24.

"It sounds surreal", Lawes said when asked how it felt to be a two-time gold medalist, "and I don't know if that's ever going to sink in".

All of which is to say, we should be in for a very even and excellent bronze medal match. But a Morris shot to the four-foot put some heat on the Swiss, another Rios miss pushed the Canadian rock closer, Lawes set up a possible steal of two with her final rock and Perret couldn't clear the house with the hammer.

Valjas clocked the 26 fastest time in qualifying at 3 minutes 17.11 seconds and was faster in the quarter-final round at 3:10.87, grabbing one of the semifinal wildcard spots, but was unable to duplicate that effort in the semifinal round, finishing at 3:13.91. On the power play, the in-house stone (in this case Switzerland) is placed with its back edge touching the tee line, with half the stone resting in the eight-foot circle and half in the 12-foot.

"It was huge", said Lawes of limiting the damage.

Veteran racer Marianne St-Gelais, competing in her final Games, failed to make it out of the quarter-finals after receiving a penalty for impeding.

The two teams engaged in a tense tug of war in the first couple of ends, and Switzerland hit back immediately after surrendering two points in the opener, levelling at two points apiece through Perret.

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