Australia had by no means despatched curlers to compete within the Winter Olympics. Not precisely identified for its domination in winter sports activities, the nation didn’t also have a devoted facility the place a curling crew might prepare.
So to arrange for Beijing, Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill — Australia’s first combined doubles curling crew — 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 instructor: Hewitt and Gill’s final game at the Olympics was towards the Canadian crew 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 opponents,” Hewitt mentioned.
The showdown was a remaining wrinkle in a tumultuous journey for the Australian crew — one which very practically got here to an early finish as constructive coronavirus assessments excluded the crew earlier than a last-minute reprieve.
Gill had alternated in latest days between constructive 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 remaining 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 — had been inside an appropriate vary for her to compete.
Up till that time, the crew had endured a string of losses: The American crew 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 crew’s final match had the reprieve not come, Italy bested them, 7-3.
However then Hewitt and Gill’s luck turned. They had 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 recreation to play.”
Even because the losses stung, he conceded a measure of satisfaction. “We knew they had been going to be nice,” Morris mentioned.
In a method, Hewitt mentioned, his coach was a sufferer of his personal success: “He’s in all probability taught us too nicely now.”
https://www.nytimes.com/dwell/2022/02/06/sports activities/olympics-winter-medals-results Olympics 2022 Dwell Tracker: Mikaela Shiffrin and Determine Skating