Road To The Olympic Games

Curling

Curling rocked in 2018. Here's why

The 2018 curling season marked a massive shift in the landscape of the sport and included highs and lows for Canadian competitors. As the year comes to a close, here's a look around the rings at some of the top moments.

Eventful year featured monumental wins, shocking defeats

Canada's Kaitlyn Lawes, left, and John Morris curled into history with their gold-medal victory in mixed doubles at the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

The 2018 curling season marked a massive shift in the landscape of the sport. Notably, the rest of the world has caught up to Canada in the roaring game.

From the United States men's gold to South Korea's women's silver and Canada's teams failing to reach the podium, there was no shortage of drama on the pebbled ice at the Winter Olympics.

But there were magical moments on the ice for Canadian curlers in Pyeongchang and beyond. Here's a look around the rings this past year.

10. Brad Jacobs miracle shot

Brad Jacobs called the shot and he made the shot, although it looked nearly impossible. In a game just a couple weeks ago at the Boost National in Conception Bay South, N.L., Jacobs was forced to throw a miracle shot with his last rock.

The 2014 Olympic champion hit a highlight-reel double-raise in-off that found the button to force an extra end against Niklas Edin. Jacobs went on to steal two points for the win.

Watch Brad Jacobs work his magic:

The 2014 Olympic champion hit a highlight-reel double-raise in-off that found the button to force an extra end against Niklas Edin. Jacobs went on to steal two points for the win. 1:25

9. Canadian curlers set world record

The numbers are staggering: 392 ends of curling, 6,272 stones thrown, a final score of 450-237 — and most importantly, one world record.

A group of 10 Ontario curlers just received word a few months ago that their game that lasted 105 hours six minutes 51 seconds — spanning from the end of September into October — has set a new Guinness World Record.

These 10 Ontarians now hold the record for longest ever curling game at 105 hours, six minutes and 51 seconds. (Brittany Pearce for CBC Sports)

8. Alberta bonspiel goes awry for an Olympic champ

The curling foursome of Jamie Koe, Ryan Fry, Chris Schille, and DJ Kidby was kicked out of the Red Deer Curling Classic in November for "unacceptable behaviour" that included being "extremely drunk."

All curlers later apologized, including Fry, a 2014 Olympic gold medallist who has since stepped away from Team Brad Jacobs for self-improvement. It's expected Fry will return with the team in the new year.

'I allowed myself to lose control,' 2014 Olympic gold medallist Ryan Fry said about his behaviour at the Red Deer Curling Classic in November. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

7. Brad Gushue repeats at Brier

It took Brad Gushue 13 tries before winning his first Brier. He then followed it up with another Brier win as Team Canada playing in Regina.

Gushue downed Alberta's Brendan Bottcher 6-4 in the final for a second straight Canadian title. Gushue's win in the final was his 123rd all-time at the Brier. Now the team is looking for three-straight in 2019 and becoming the first to do so since Randy Ferbey's Alberta team did it in the early 2000s.

Watch highlights from Gushue's win:

Gushue defeated Brendan Bottcher 6-4 in the Brier final to become the first repeat winner since Kevin Martin in 2008-09. 1:25

6. Jennifer Jones crowned world champion

The 2018 women's world championship was a roller-coaster ride for Jennifer Jones and her team, who were competing in front of a home crowd in North Bay, Ont. And the championship game was just as turbulent.

The back-and-forth final came down to an extra-end in front of a tense, capacity crowd. Without hammer, Sweden's Anna Hasselborg missed a pick shot, giving Jones the win. It was her second women's world championship title. Jones won her first world championship a decade earlier in 2008.

Watch highlights from Jones's win:

Jones' Canadian rink edged Anna Hasselborg's team from Sweden 7-6 in extra ends to win the Women's Curling World Championship. 1:42

5. Canadian teams hits 'rock bottom' at Olympics

There will be no Canadian curling summit but there will continue be some serious introspection after Canada's disappointing curling performance at the Olympics.

Both Rachel Homan and Kevin Koe's teams failed to reach the podium. Before this, every Canadian curling team had medaled at the Olympics since the sport was reintroduced to the program in 1998. Ben Hebert called it "rock bottom" after losing to Switzerland in the bronze medal game.

Watch a recap of curling from the 2018 Games:

The CBC Olympic curling panel recaps an exciting 2018 Olympic curling tournament on both the men's and women's sides. 8:59

4. 'Garlic Girls' captivate home fans

Very quickly at the Olympics it was becoming clear that South Korea was fixated on curling and its women's team. In fact, Team Kim had remarkable success to make it all the way to the gold-medal game against Sweden. The "Garlic Girls" were overnight rockstars after capturing silver — the country's first-ever curling medal.

Despite losing to Sweden, all four members of the team basked in the raucous cheers raining down on them at the end of the game. The fans kept cheering as tears streamed down the faces of the curlers. They so badly wanted gold for their country but raised the profile of the game immensely in South Korea.

South Korea's women's curling team earned a silver medal, the country's first Olympic medal in the sport. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

In November it was reported South Korea's sports ministry was conducting a joint investigation with the national Olympic committee into allegations of abuse by the so-called Garlic Girls. In the letter, the team accused former Korean Curling Federation (KCF) vice-president Kim Kyong-doo of verbal abuse and team coaches of giving unreasonable orders and subjecting their private lives to excessive control.

3. Canada's resilient Paralympic rink

The Canadian wheelchair curling team quickly earned the nickname "The Comeback Kids" after showing a brilliant knack for mounting come-from-behind wins, but they also became known for their smiles and positivity on the ice.

Marie Wright, Dennis Thiessen, Ina Forrest and Mark Ideson wanted gold badly for Canada. After losing the semifinal in heartbreaking fashion, they responded with an emotional win in the bronze-medal game.

Watch skip Ideson discuss his Paralympic experience:

Ideson spoke with CBC's Lauren Woolstencroft after his Canadian rink won a bronze medal in wheelchair curling. 2:10

2. Curling's Miracle on Ice?

John Shuster and his American curling team made history when they won gold at the Olympics. It was the country's first gold medal in curling at the Games. Many have called what they did a curling 'Miracle on Ice.'

In the championship game, Shuster scored five in the eighth to secure victory. But perhaps more importantly and impressive was Shuster's two wins over the Canadians on the way to winning it all. Never before had an American team defeated Canada at curling in the Olympics — Shuster did it twice, once in the round robin and then in the semifinal.

John Shuster skipped the United States to the country's first-ever Olympic gold in curling. (Natacha Pisarenko, File/Associated Press)

1. Lawes and Morris make curling history

Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris weren't even a team two months prior the Olympics. They practiced once, for about 30 minutes in Winnipeg, before the Canadian mixed doubles trials in Portage la Prairie, Man.

Their dreams of making it to the Olympics with their foursomes were dashed and they didn't have a lot of time to feel sorry for themselves. They quickly found the perfect chemistry for golden success.

Their second chance at Olympic glory came in the form of mixed doubles, which made its debut at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang. They seized the moment defeating Switzerland 10-3 in six ends.

John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes found unexpected chemistry that led to an Olympic gold medal. 0:38

About the Author

Devin Heroux

CBC reporter

Devin Heroux reports for CBC News and Sports. He is now based in Toronto, after working first for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon.

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