Switzerland to face Canada for curling mixed doubles gold
Jenny Perret, Martin Rios hold on for 7-5 semifinal win over Olympic Athletes from Russia
By Doug Harrison, CBC Sports
To borrow a line from head coach Mike Babcock, who guided the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team to gold medals in 2010 and 2014, Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris would be well advised to "start on time" in the mixed doubles curling final.
Lawes curled just 41 per cent through four ends of Monday's semifinal against Norway, but settled down, overcame several missed opportunities and made several clutch shots in a 8-4 win after the Norwegians dealt Canada its lone loss in round-robin play at the Winter Games in South Korea.
Later Monday, Switzerland's Jenny Perret and Martin Rios struck first, scoring twice in the first end on the way to a 7-5 victory over Olympic Athletes from Russia in a tension-filled semifinal.
Click below for highlights/analysis of Canada's semifinal win:
The Swiss duo will meet Lawes and Morris, who are 7-1 overall at these Games, in Tuesday's gold-medal game at 6:05 a.m. ET at Gangneung Curling Centre, while the bronze-medal match will be contested Monday between OAR and Norway at 7:05 p.m. ET.
"It's an honour to be going into this [gold-medal] game," Lawes, 29, told CBC Sports on Monday. "I couldn't have dreamed up a better week for us, especially after losing our first game. It's been so fun learning and building towards this moment."
On Feb. 9, Lawes and Morris trailed 1-0 to the Swiss after the first end before making Perret and Rios pay for their mistakes in the second end to take an insurmountable 4-1 lead in a 7-2 victory.
Lawes and Morris, who will attempt to become the first Canadians to capture two Olympic curling gold medals, had a few other slow starts in the round robin:
Canada trailed Norway 3-1 after two ends in a 9-6 loss on Feb. 7.
Lawes and Morris were down 1-0 after the first end the next day to the United States before rebounding for a 6-4 win.
Canada also trailed 1-0 to Finland on Feb. 9 but recovered for a 7-2 win.
"It certainly helps to have played in big games," said Lawes, who won gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games as vice for Jennifer Jones, while Morris was an Olympic champion at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics playing third for the now-retired Kevin Martin.
"I want to enjoy this experience and leave it all on the ice and have no regrets."
'We all want to be in that gold-medal game'
Morris, who won the Brier in 2008, 2009 and 2015 along with a 2008 men's world title, said the pressure-packed semifinal against Norway is what he lives for.
"We all want to be in that gold-medal game and be guaranteed a medal," said the 39-year-old firefighter from Canmore, Alta.
Lawes and Morris came together only one month ago at the Canadian Olympic trials. They have made mistakes and learned from them, and have outscored their opponents 54-21.
"It's been an incredible ride," Lawes said. "To at one point feel like you're not going to the Olympics after losing out at teh team trials [with Jones] to being here in this moment … to be here for the second time and to know that we're coming home with a medal for Canada is so special."