Brad Gushue falls to Sweden, will play U.S. for Olympic curling bronze
Canadian eyes 1st podium at Games since '06 title; Sweden, Great Britain go for gold
Make it a double takeout of Canada's teams on the curling sheet in Beijing.
Brad Gushue lost twice Thursday and was eliminated from gold-medal contention in the Olympic tournament a few hours after Jennifer Jones' hopes for a second career podium at the Games were dashed despite a one-sided victory over Denmark in the women's competition.
"It's not the end of the world if we don't win [gold]," Gushue told Postmedia before the Olympics. "My perspective is good on it. These teams from around the world have caught up to Canada and they are very good."
Sweden's Niklas Edin snapped a 3-3 tie with a single in the eighth and stole a point in the 10th and final end for a 5-3 victory over Gushue at the Ice Cube. The 36-year-old will attempt to win Olympic gold for the first time on Saturday 1:05 a.m. ET after capturing 2014 bronze in Sochi, Russia, and silver four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
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Sweden will face Bruce Mouat of Great Britain, who defeated 2018 champion John Shuster of the United States 8-4 in the other semifinal. Gushue, who dropped a 5-2 decision to the Brits earlier Thursday, will play Shuster for bronze on Friday at 1:05 a.m. ET.
"It's going to be a super, super interesting final," said Edin, a five-time world champion. "I think it might be nerve-wracking to play, but I think it's going to be a super well-played game."
Gushue will try to return Canada to the Olympic podium after after Kevin Koe and Rachel Homan finished fourth and sixth, respectively in 2018.
Gushue felt he had a better chance of making his final shot in the 10th end — a runback double takeout — rather than getting a steal in the extra end.
"It was an extremely difficult shot and we literally missed it by a whisker," Gushue told The Canadian Press. "It's less than a millimetre on the top rock."
The 41-year-old from St. John's and third Mark Nichols won 2006 gold in Turin, Italy, and have since taken three Brier Tankards, one world championship and a handful of Grand Slam titles. Lead Geoff Walker, second Brett Gallant and fifth Marc Kennedy round out the squad in Beijing.
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Last week, Canada's John Morris and Homan suffered an 8-7, extra-end loss to Italy and missed qualifying for the playoffs in mixed doubles.
Tense 10th end
Edin snapped a two-game skid after starting 7-0 in the round robin, prevailing for the second time in five days against Gushue, who had won the previous four meetings dating to October 2019 and boasts a 21-9 record head-to-head.
A tense 10th end also featured timeouts by both teams, Nichols going light on a draw and a double takeout miss by Edin, who then made good on a hit and roll.
"I liked our chances of winning in our own hands," Gushue told The Canadian Press. "We took the chance and just missed."
With the match tied 3-3 after blank ends in the sixth and seventh, Gushue executed a hit and roll in the eighth but Edin managed a single point to regain the lead after holding a 3-1 advantage through four ends.
Canada, with the hammer in the ninth, delivered a double takeout — courtesy Nichols — before another clutch shot by Gushue, who beat Edin to win the 2017 world championship in Edmonton.
It was a cautious start, with the teams exchanging single points before Edin drew for two to take a 3-1 in the fourth end after Gushue missed an across-the-house double takeout attempt on his last shot.
Nichols narrowly missed a double takeout in the end and was a little off in his shooting early on, along with Brett Gallant.
Gushue scored two on a draw in the fifth to tie the contest.
Meanwhile, Jones downed Denmark 10-4 but missed qualifying for the playoffs when Japan, South Korea and the Russian Olympic Committee all lost.
"I thought we went out there and won a game that we had to win, and it just wasn't enough," Jones said.
WATCH | Full event replay, Canada vs. Sweden - semifinal:
With files from The Associated Press