PyeongChang Today: British curlers take centre stage
PyeongChang 2018

PyeongChang Today: British curlers take centre stage

14 February 2018 / 15:38

With weather conditions forcing the cancellation of both the alpine skiing and biathlon, the Team GB spotlight fell on the Gangneung Ice Centre where both the men's and women's rinks opened their PyeongChang 2018 campaigns with victories.

  • Kyle Smith's rink marked their Olympic debut with an opening 6-5 win over Switzerland before losing out to Olympic champions Canada 6-4 in the evening session
  • Team Muirhead also got up and running with a 10-3 win against Olympic Athlete from Russia


Team GB men's skip Kyle Smith vowed to learn lessons in defeat after they finished with one win and one defeat on their opening day of competition.

Making their Olympic debuts in PyeongChang, they could not have asked for a better start as they defeated Switzerland 6-5 after an extra end in the morning session.

Team Smith

They returned to the ice in the evening to take on reigning champion nation Canada and, while starting slowly, rallied to steal a point in the sixth to bring the scores back to 4-3.

However the experience of the Canadians showed and they managed to see the game out to win 6-4 and leave Team GB fifth in the early round robin standings. 

They have just one game tomorrow, against Japan at 14:05 (05:05am UK time), with Smith keen to bounce back.

He said: "It's disappointing to have our first loss of the tournament. We didn't start very well and we're playing one of the best teams in the world defending a lead so it was pleasing how we came back and still had a chance in the end to win the game.

"We played a really good sixth end and we managed to create a steal which narrowed the gap a little bit and then the force in end seven and it was just a pity we couldn't covert our two with the hammer in the eighth to tie the game up. They ran us out of stones in the end.

“There's just a few lessons for us to learn about different bits of the sheet and how we can throw the rock and that's something we will discuss with our coach.

"It's definitely great to start the Olympics, it feels like we've been waiting forever for it to come around and we've got something here we can build on for the rest of the week." 
Olympic bronze medallist Eve Muirhead believes her rink have laid down a marker after comfortably winning their opening curling game in PyeongChang.

Team Muirhead wrapped up the win inside just seven ends as Olympic Athletes from Russia shook hands after conceding a score of four to leave the score at 10-3.

That left them tied at the top of the early round robin rankings alongside China, Japan and Sweden who also all won their opening games.

Team GB women play two matches tomorrow, against the USA at 09:05 (00:05am UK time) and then China at 20:05 (11:05 am UK time).

“To get off to a strong start like that at an Olympic Games is fantastic. For us, that stamps our authority down that Team GB are here and we are playing well,” said Muirhead.

“Of course there was going to be pre-tournament nerves. I'm not embarrassed to say I was nervous. I was really nervous. 

“But we controlled ourselves, we've worked hard on managing to deal with high pressure situations and now that game one is out out the way, we can relax a little bit and take other things in our stride.

“We've got a long way to go. We've got another eight round robin games and we're going to have to stay focused.” 

Women's coach Glenn Howard added: “It was a great start. Obviously you want to get out of the blocks with a win and that's what I saw.

"It wasn't our best game but the bottom line is they adjusted well to the ice, that's what you want to do.

“There is so much experience with this team at a very young age and that is huge coming into an Olympics. 

“There is nothing that is going to happen to them that they are not going to expect. That goes a long way in this competition.”

Best of the rest

Shaun White claimed an historic third Olympic gold in the men’s snowboard halfpipe as a sublime final run saw him push Japan’s teenage sensation Ayumu Hirano into second place. 

The 31-year-old American fell on his second run having seen Hirano move into the lead with a score of 95.25 but he produced the ‘best run of his career’ to register a score of 97.75 and top the podium.

Germany’s Eric Frenzel successfully defended his Nordic combined title from Sochi after a breakaway on the last lap of the cross-country section saw him pip Japan’s Akito Watabe, the same man he beat four years ago. 

And the Netherlands continued their speed skating dominance at the Gangneung Oval as Jorien ter Mors made it five golds in five events for the nation in the women’s 1000m.

What to watch tomorrow...  

The time for training runs is over for Britain's skeleton athletes with Dominic Parsons and Jerry Rice taking to the ice for the first two of four competition runs. The first run goes off at 10:00 (01:00am UK time). 

Cross-country skier Annika Taylor is also in action in the women's 10km which starts at 15:30 (06:30am UK time) while alpine skier Alex Tilley goes in the rearranged giant slalom from 10:00 (01:00am UK time). Over at the biathlon, Amanda Lightfoot will go in the 15km pursuit, after the event was also postponed due to the weather today. 

And it is another full day of curling with Eve Muirhead's rink in action twice, against the USA at 09:05 (00:05am UK time) and China at 20:05 (11:05am UK time). In between them, Kyle Smith's rink take on Japan at 14:05 (05:05am UK time).


Sportsbeat 2018