'It feels fantastic': WLU grad John Morris wins gold in curling
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:10AM EST
The first Olympic gold medal in mixed doubles curling goes to Canada.
Canada's John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes downed defending world champions Jenny Perret and Martin Rios of Switzerland 10-3 in Tuesday's final.
Ottawa's Morris and Winnipeg's Lawes claimed the second Olympic gold medals of their careers and Canada's third of the Pyeongchang Games.
Lawes was third for the Jennifer Jones team that won women's team gold in 2014. Morris, a Wilfrid Laurier University graduate, was vice for Kevin Martin when they took the men's team title in 2010. Both curlers have strong ties to the Kitchener-Waterloo Granite Club and trained there as part of their Olympic preparations.
"It feels fantastic. It's an amazing feeling winning the gold medal," said Morris.
Mixed doubles curling made its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.
"I'm really proud of us for coming here and putting mixed doubles on the map," Morris added.
The shotmaking abilities of Morris, 39, and Lawes, 29, overcame their lack of experience together as a doubles team.
Prior to winning January's trials, they'd played a few games years earlier in the Continental Cup of Curling.
Morris and Lawes topped the preliminary round with a 6-1 record and beat Norway 8-4 in the semifinal to advance to the championship game.
As the top seed in the playoffs, the Canadians had hammer to start the final. They were up against curlers more seasoned in the discipline, however.
Rio and Perret won last year's world title in Lethbridge, Alta., where they beat Canada's Reid Carruthers and Joanne Courtney in the final. Perret also claimed a world title in 2012 with Nadine Lehmann.
But Morris and Lawes dominated from the third end on. After trading deuces with the Swiss in the first two ends, the Canadians scored a pivotal four in the third to lead 6-2.
The Canadians were outshooting the Swiss 92 per cent to 63 after five ends and led 8-3.
The Swiss were setting up for a multi-point end in the sixth, but the Canadians played defence and left Perret with a tough hit to score points.
They gave up a steal of two and shook hands. Morris hoisted the diminutive Lawes into the air in triumph and she then ran up into the stands to hug her family.
After Morris made a hit and roll to score lay four in the third, Rios sent an attempted hit through the rings. A delicate raise by Lawes with Canada's last stone of the end scored quadruple points.
Canada held the Swiss to one in the fourth and scored two in the fifth.