Curling is a team sport, and Sweden needed the entire team to defeat Switzerland Saturday and win the Olympic women’s curling bronze medal.
All Sweden had to do was land a stone in the 4-foot on the final throw of the tenth to win. The throw out of skip Anna Hasselborg’s hand was light, and was in danger of not making it. It took all four sweepers to warm the ice just enough to get the stone down the ice, but their efforts were rewarded with a draw for one and a 9-7 win for the bronze medal.
The effort helped Sweden take down arguably the best team in the women’s curling tournament at these Games. Both Sweden and Switzerland were forced to settle for the bronze medal game after each was upset in the semifinals. Switzerland, the No. 1 seed after going 8-1 in round-robin play, fell to Japan. After Saturday’s loss, the defending world champions will now leave the 2022 Games without a medal.
Sweden came into the 2022 Games as the defending Olympic gold medalists and were the No. 2 seed after round-robin play. They, too, were upset by lower seed Great Britain in the semifinals, that game ending in 11 ends.
In Saturday’s game, Sweden had a 3-2 lead at the half, and doubled its score in the sixth. Hasselborg’s penultimate stone drew into the 4-foot to give her team two in scoring position. Swiss fourth Alina Paetz’s takeout attempt came up much too light, hitting her own stone at the top of the 8-foot to allow Hasselborg another draw that scored three and gave her team a 4-point lead.
Both teams’ skips missed shots in the seventh, the biggest from Paetz who had a chance at three or even four points, but came up short on her hammer throw and had to settle for two. Paetz still helped her team go into the eighth trailing 6-4.
Hasselborg made up for her own mistakes in the eighth. Her hammer throw hit Switzerland’s inside stone at the perfect angle to knock it out while keeping her own stone in place to score two and go back up by four.
But holding a lead in curling is extremely difficult, and Switzerland didn’t make it easy for Sweden. In the ninth, the Swiss had two stones in the house, and Paetz came up with a takeout and stuck her stone for three to cut Sweden’s lead to one, 8-7, with one end to play.
Sweden played a nearly perfect end to keep Switzerland off the board in the tenth.
The win gives Sweden six women’s curling medals, breaking a tie with Canada for the most by any country. It’s the second bronze medal for a Swedish women’s curling team.
The win is also the second curling medal won by Sweden in one day. The Swedish men’s curling team won gold about five hours prior.