Australia had by no means despatched curlers to compete within the Winter Olympics. Not precisely recognized for its domination in winter sports activities, the nation didn’t actually have a devoted facility the place a curling staff might prepare.
So to arrange for Beijing, Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill — Australia’s first combined doubles curling staff — went to Canada. There, consultants like John Morris, the two-time Olympic gold medalist, might coach them to carry their very own on the highest degree.
That preparation in Canada set the stage for a confrontation on Sunday between college students and trainer: Hewitt and Gill’s final game at the Olympics was in opposition to the Canadian staff of Morris and Rachel Homan.
Within the second, their friendship and affection for each other was overshadowed by their drive to win.
“As soon as we get on the ice, we’re fierce rivals,” Hewitt stated.
The showdown was a ultimate wrinkle in a tumultuous journey for the Australian staff — one which very almost got here to an early finish as optimistic coronavirus assessments excluded the staff earlier than a last-minute reprieve.
Gill had alternated in latest days between optimistic and damaging assessments, which she had attributed to the residual results of contracting the virus in December. Efforts to keep away from sending her dwelling in order that she and Hewitt might play their ultimate two video games on Sunday gave the impression to be failing by late Saturday. However the subsequent day, the well being authorities discovered that Gill’s CT ranges — a measure of how a lot viral materials is detected — have been inside a suitable vary for her to compete.
Up till that time, the staff had endured a string of losses: The American staff beat them by one level, as did the Chinese language, the Swedish and the British. The Czech Republic beat them, 8-2; Norway, 10-4; and in what gave the impression to be the Australian staff’s final match had the reprieve not come, Italy bested them, 7-3.
However then Hewitt and Gill’s luck turned. They have been in a position to play on Sunday, for one factor. In addition they claimed their first victory, beating Switzerland, 9-6.
However the losses meant that the sport on Sunday evening would in reality be their final one, in a face-off with Canada. It was unnervingly near the end. However the Australians in the end pulled forward to win, 10-8.
“It was a tricky battle,” Morris advised reporters after the sport. “It was a tricky sport to play.”
Even because the losses stung, he conceded a measure of pleasure. “We knew they have been going to be nice,” Morris stated.
In a method, Hewitt stated, his coach was a sufferer of his personal success: “He’s most likely taught us too nicely now.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/05/sports activities/olympics/australia-canada-curling.html Australia’s First Olympic Curling Crew Ends Competitors on Excessive Notice