PyeongChang update: Team Muirhead book Olympic semi-final place
Winter Sports

PyeongChang update: Team Muirhead book Olympic semi-final place

21 February 2018 / 05:31
Eve Muirhead's British curling rink appear to be peaking when it matters after successfully booking their place in the Olympic semi-finals - and knocking out curling heavyweights Canada.

Muirheadnews-2

The Sochi 2014 bronze medallists went into their final round robin match knowing that victory would secure their last-four place and a guaranteed chance to play for another Olympic medal.

It would be no easy task though with Canada, led by skip Rachel Homan, the reigning world champions.

The country has also bossed matters on the ice, with the women's team having finished on the podium at every Games since 1998, including taking gold four years ago.

But that run is now at an end, courtesy of a composed and clinical 6-5 win from Team Muirhead, who are coached by Canadian four-time world champion Glenn Howard.

"The last five ends of that game were by far the best five ends we've played this week," he said. "That's what I want to see. The girls were out there to win it.

"I'm so proud they didn't worry about the outcome, they stuck to the processes and they went and made curling shots and went and made them precisely. That just shows that under the gun they can make those shots.

"At the fifth end I told the girls not to panic. Just be patient and stick to our plan. There will always be moments where you think negative thoughts. That's just normal, we're all human. 

"It was a brilliant performance by all four of them in that last five ends."

After a stronger start for Canada, Britain managed to finally level the match in the eighth, after Muirhead removed two Canadian stones with her shot of the Games.

Their opponents edged back in front in the ninth but with the hammer advantage in the tenth, Team Muirhead stocked the house with yellow stones.

That put the pressure on Homan who reduced the number to two with her penultimate stone but then came up short on her her final effort.

Muirhead's rink will discover their semi-final opponent later today after the conclusion of the round robin stages, although the skip was delighted with their current form.

"It was a great team performance, it shows we have a lot of determination, a lot of patience and I'm really happy to get the semi-final spot," she said.

"As a team I think we played really well. Everyone is communicating great. Our coach Glenn has passed on a lot of his expertise and to have him in our corner and not in their corner is great.

"The last few games we've got better and better and that's important building into the play-offs.

"We know our semi final will be very tough, whoever we're playing. One thing we did great is we didn't panic. The last few ends were very clinical and as a team I'm delighted the patience paid off."

Short track speed skating

We’ve been catching up with three-time world champion Elise Christie after last night’s 1000m heats.

Snowboarding

BillyMorganbigairnews

Not even a blocked ear was able to stop Billy Morgan from booking his place in the first-ever Olympic snowboard big air final.

The 28-year-old finished sixth in the second of two heats at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre, with his best score of 90.50 for his back triple trick enough from him through to
the 12-strong final.

But his performance was even more impressive given he had to undergo an impromptu medical procedure this morning.

“I woke up this morning with a completely blocked ear and I had to go have it syringed. I was panicked, I just felt terrible," he explained.

“With your ear blocked it's a horrible feeling and I wouldn't have felt too comfortable going in and doing this not feeling great.

“When I got here I was still feeling a bit dizzy but I think the adrenalin kicked in and took over and I was alright.

"It's going to be mental in the final. I would need a lot of luck to podium now after seeing what's going down. Watching practice it has been mental. But anything can happen, I will try my best."

Morgan was almost joined by teammate Rowan Coultas in the final but he missed out on the top six in heat one by just 0.50 points, finishing eighth with 84.50. 

Jamie Nicholls was 11th with 81.25 although he did at least take the honour of being the first male snowboarder to compete in an Olympic big air competition after dropping in first. 

Still to come

Mica McNeill and Mica Moore are currently sitting sixth at the half-way stage, with a combined time of 1:41.72, 0.16 seconds off third place. German pilot Jamanka Mariama currently tops the standings, 0.46s faster than the Brits.
The two concluding runs at the Olympic Sliding Centre start at 8.40pm (11.40am UK time).
 
Sportsbeat 2018