Canada's Lawes, Morris win mixed doubles curling gold
Rout Switzerland 10-3 to become Canada's first 2-time Olympic curling champions
By Doug Harrison, CBC Sports
Canada's Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris won the first-ever Winter Games gold medal in mixed doubles curling on Tuesday, defeating the reigning world champions from Switzerland 10-3 at the Gangneung Curling Centre in South Korea.
"Wow, this is unbelievable. A dream come true," a beaming Lawes told CBC Sports.
"This is for everyone back home [in Canada] that's always been supportive. It just feels so great," Morris added after securing Canada's third gold medal of the Games and eighth overall. "We [Canada] are having such a great Games, and to give us a boost like this with another gold, it just feels awesome to be a part of that team."
BREAKING - GOLD <br><br>Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris defeat Switzerland to capture first-ever Mixed Doubles Olympic curling gold medal.<br><br>HISTORY:<br><br>They also become the first two Canadians to win gold in curling at the Olympics twice. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbccurl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cbccurl</a> <a href="https://t.co/w1FpBDYITv">pic.twitter.com/w1FpBDYITv</a>—@Devin_Heroux
After the teams exchanged deuces in the first two ends, Lawes tapped for four in the third to snap a 2-2 tie and give Canada a commanding 6-2 lead.
It was Lawes and Morris's second win over the Swiss in five days after they made Jenny Perret and Martin Rios pay for their mistakes early on the way to a 7-2 win in the round robin.
Lawes and Morris finished the tournament with an 8-1 record, reeling off eight consecutive victories after dropping a 9-6 decision to Norway in their opening match. They are also a combined 29-1 in Olympic play.
The 29-year-old Lawes, from Winnipeg, won gold at the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia as third for Jennifer Jones. The 39-year-old Morris of Ottawa was an Olympic champion at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics playing third for the now-retired Kevin Martin, who told CBC Sports's Devin Heroux on Monday that "you won't meet a better big-game player than John Morris."
Lawes and Morris came together only one month ago at the Canadian Olympic trials. A resilient tandem, they made mistakes in South Korea and learned from them, outscoring their opponents 64-24.
"I just wanted to embrace every moment," said Lawes. "I wanted to have fun and enjoy sliding over those Olympic rings. No matter what was going to happen out there, we were just so proud of what we've been able to accomplish.
"It's surreal and an incredible honour to represent our amazing country."
VIDEO | Canada's final shot of 6th end to secure gold medal
Lawes was forced to take a technical timeout before her final shot in the third end as there appeared to be a problem with the handle on her rock.
"I wanted to make sure it was tight before I threw it," she told CBC Sports during a break in play.
A couple of key misses by Rios set up the big score. First, he missed an available hit and roll, and then missed wide left on an open hit that would have cleared three Canadian rocks.
Switzerland invoked a very early power play in the fourth end and was held to a single point to cut the deficit to 6-3. 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. The guard stone is positioned to the side of the sheet so it protects the in-house stone.
"It was huge," said Lawes of limiting the damage. "The power play is what makes this game so interesting. It's so easy to give up big points but we were patient and John's making a ton of shots."
2 huge shots by Morris
Lawes, who curled just 41 per cent through the first four ends of Monday's 8-4 semifinal victory over Norway, was at 88 per cent during Tuesday's game before her final shot in the fifth scored two to extend Canada's lead to 8-3.
Morris, who curled 83 per cent on the day and for the tournament, came out strong in the first end with two huge shots, including a draw to the button, as Canada went up 2-0 early.
Switzerland answered in the second as Perret's final shot scored two.
The mixed doubles event proved popular with fans and curlers, who praised its relatively rapid pace and potential for high scores.
"It's fantastic," said Morris, who won the Brier in 2008, 2009 and 2015 along with a men's world title in '08. "It's something that everyone that loves curling back in Canada should try. It's athletic, it's fun. The beer tastes just as good after the game.
"It's here to stay and I can't wait to see how well it does back in Canada."