Men’s curling tournament preview: Canada shooting for fourth straight gold medal
Canada defeated Switzerland to earn the first ever mixed doubles curling gold medal Tuesday morning.
But, curling action at the 2018 Winter Olympics is just getting started. The men’s tournament is set to begin Tuesday night and conclude with the gold medal match Feb. 24
Here’s everything you need to know heading into the first set of men’s matches.
Teams in the field
Seven of the 10 teams clinched spots in the men’s Olympic tournament based off the results of the 2016 and 2017 World Championships. As the host nation, South Korea received an automatic Olympic berth, while Italy and Denmark earned a spot in PyeongChang in a December qualification tournament.
Here’s the complete list of teams that will be competing:
- Great Britain
- South Korea
Each country begins the men’s tournament with round-robin play, where each team plays every opponent once, for a total of nine games.
The teams with the four best records in round-robin action advance to the semifinals. In that round, the top seed will face the fourth seeded team. The team with the second best record will match up with the third-ranked team.
The winners of those games will face off for the gold medal, while the losers will play for bronze.
Teams to watch
This year, multiple curlers will return to Olympic competition, while many others are set to make their debuts. The teams expected to finish atop the standings are:
Canada has dominated curling over the last decade plus, winning three Olympic gold medals and 12 world championships since 2006. This year, Canada skipper Kevin Koe will be making his Olympic debut at 43. He holds two career world titles.
The Swedish team could be Canada’s biggest competition for the gold medal in PyeongChang. Sweden skipper Niklas Edin will be making his third Olympic appearance after just missing the podium in 2010 and capturing a bronze in Sochi. His squad was the runner-up for the men’s world championship in 2017.
The team from Switzerland – led by Peter de Cruz – is set to make its Olympic debut. But, they are still expected to reach the semifinals as they’ve won a medal in two of the last four world championships. Two members of de Cruz’s squad, Benoit Schwarz and Claudio Patz, were on Switzerland’s roster when it finished eighth in Sochi.
Thomas Ulsrud’s Norwegian team won silver in Vancouver but failed to end up on the poduim in 2014. Ulsrud’s squad —which garnered attention in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics because of a unique fashion choice — returns to the Olympic sheet with an outside chance to bring home a medal.
The United States could be in medal contention for the first time in 12 years, after the program placed third and fourth at the 2016 and 2017 world championships, respectively. John Shuster returns for his fourth Olympics, his third as skip. He was a member of the U.S. squad that won bronze in 2006.
Matt Hamilton – who competed for the United States with his sister Becca during mixed doubles play – and Tyler George are both set to make their Olympic men’s tournament debuts, while John Landsteiner returns after competing with Schuster in 2014.
Sochi 2014 Winter Games rewind
Canada was victorious in seven of nine round robin games, losing to just Switzerland and Sweden en route to the gold medal.
The Canadians, skipped by Ryan Jacobs, topped China in the semifinals and followed with a 9-3 win over Great Britain in the championship game.
Great Britain settled for the silver medal, while Sweden took home a bronze.
After finishing last in Vancouver, the team from the United States registered a 2-7 record and placed ninth out of 10 teams.
©2018 NBCUniversal. All rights reserved. Any use, reproduction, modification, distribution, display or performance of this material without NBC Universal's prior written consent is prohibited.