After learning on the fly, Canadians soar into Olympic mixed doubles curling semifinals

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GANGNEUNG — Since the day they first stepped on the ice last month for the Canadian Olympic trials, it has been one long learning process for Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris.

Newly formed for those mixed doubles curling trials, they started slowly but began to pick up more and more of the nuances of the new discipline and wound up winning it all in a gruelling marathon of a tournament.

They’ve been going to school for the last four days at the Olympics as well and they’ve been teaching their opponents a thing or two.

The Canadians beat South Korea 7-3 on Sunday morning at the Gangneung Curling Centre to finish the Olympic round robin in first place with a 6-1 record. They’ve been at peak performance level for the last six games and are rolling into Monday’s semifinals. This after they struggled in their first game, losing 9-6 to Norway.

The Canadians beat South Korea 7-3 on Sunday morning at the Gangneung Curling Centre to finish the Olympic round robin in first place with a 6-1 record.

“One thing I really like about our team is we learn very quickly,” Morris said. “We haven’t had a lot of time together and we communicate very effectively. We learned from that first game. I didn’t play well and it was mostly ‘What do I need to do to get better?’ But even in our wins that were a little lopsided later in the week, we learned about the ice and the rocks. We’re constantly trying to learn so we can use it in the future.”

Canada will have hammer in the first end when they play either China or Norway in one of the semifinals on Monday (game time was TBA at press time). China and Norway finished 4-3 and will play a tiebreaker on Sunday night.

The Olympic Athletes from Russia also finished 4-3 but clinched third place because they beat both China and Norway in the round robin.

Defending world champion Switzerland (5-2) will face Russia in the other semifinal.

The bronze and gold medal games will be played on Tuesday.

At this point it looks like it will be very difficult for any team to beat the Canadians. Both Lawes (2014) and Morris (2010) are already Olympic gold medallists in curling and they have a great combination of shot-calling, shooting ability and athleticism for mixed doubles.

“We’ve played a lot of games in a lot of pressure situations,” Lawes said. “The best things about our team is we are patient, we learn from our mistakes and we’re continually trying to be better. We know we’re not going to be perfect but if we can find ways to be that much better each time, we’re going to find the wins out there.”

Hyeji Jang and Kijeong Lee of South Korea played before a boisterous crowd of 3,500 on all of the draws and put up a brave fight but eventually finished 2-5.

Canada scored one with the hammer in the first end and stole one in the second before the Koreans tied …read more

Source:: Nationalpost

      

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