Britain women stun Switzerland to win curling goldPosted: Thursday February 21, 2002 7:11 PM
Updated: Thursday February 21, 2002 7:19 PM
OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Britain beat Switzerland 4-3 to win the women's curling Olympic gold medal in a dramatic finish that was decided in the 10th end Thursday.
Canada, which was the defending champion, won the bronze medal by beating the United States 9-5.
The final came down to the last throw for both teams. Swiss skip Luzia Ebnoether bumped a British stone and placed both teams' rocks on the button. So it came down to the final throw by British captain Rhona Martin.
Her stone slowed as it approached the house, bringing fans to their feet in cheers. It slid slowly up to the Swiss stone and nudged it just enough to leave Martin's throw on the mark.
British sweepers Debbie Knox, Fiona McDonald and Janice Rankin dropped their brooms on the ice and threw their arms up in celebration as fans waved Scottish flags in the stands.
It was another dramatic finish for Britain, which upset Canada 6-5 in the semifinals when Martin placed a stone on her final shot of the 10th end.
All four members of the British team are from Scotland, birthplace of the sport. When curling made its debut as an Olympic sport at the 1998 Nagano Games, Britain lost the bronze medal game to Sweden.
The Americans, led by captain Kari Erickson, were competitive in the bronze medal match and tied it at 2-2 through three ends and pulled within 7-5 in the eighth. As the match wore on, though, Law and her squad answered every U.S. challenge.
The Canadians went ahead 7-3 with two points in the seventh. Erickson bumped a U.S. stone into the middle of the house, putting the Americans in perfect scoring position, but captain Kelley Law knocked it out with her next shot.
On her next shot Erickson took out the Canadian stone, but Law bumped Erickson's stone right after that. So it went, knock for knock, with Team Canada methodically pulling ahead.
Not that the Americans didn't fight, if that term is OK in curling. Erickson had most of the 1,500 fans inside the chilly arena chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A" after she put two stones in the house with her final shot of the eighth.
Those two points pulled the Americans to 7-5. But the Canadians, who went 9-0 in the tournament when they led midway through their matches, had a strategical advantage because they shot last in the last two ends.
After the Canadians scored one point in the ninth end to lead 8-5, the outcome was essentially decided.
The Canadians weren't supposed to play for a bronze. Favored to win the tournament, they lost in the semifinals to Britain - putting the Britons in the final against Switzerland.