Canada's curling men and women have medals in sight

Canada's skip Brad Jacobs (C) delivers a stone as teammates Ryan Harnden (L) and E.J. Harnden sweep...

Canada's skip Brad Jacobs (C) delivers a stone as teammates Ryan Harnden (L) and E.J. Harnden sweep during their men's curling round robin game against China in the Ice Cube Curling Centre at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games February 16, 2014. (REUTERS)

TED WYMAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 3:12 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - Canada will have a chance to extend its perfect medal record in curling at the Olympics when the semifinals get underway on Wednesday.

Since curling was introduced in 1998 there have been eight sets of medals handed out and Canada has won one every Games (four men, four women).

Come Wednesday, Canada's Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs will have an opportunity to add to the collection.

Both teams have qualified for the semifinals and are a win away from guaranteeing themselves a medal.

Winnipeg's Jones is a stunning 8-0 so far in the tournament, with one game, against Korea, remaining in the round robin. The Canadian team, with Kaitlyn Lawes at third, Jill Officer at second and Dawn McEwen at lead, has a chance to become the first team to go undefeated through an Olympic round robin.

"I'm really proud of how we came out," Jones said after a 7-6, extra-end win over the United States. "It's our first Olympics, we're all rookies, and we've come out and played really well and have enjoyed the Olympic experience.

"The undefeated possibility doesn't really even cross our minds to be honest."

Jacobs, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont, is 7-2 and his team has completed the round robin. Canada won two games Sunday -- 8-6 over the U.S. and 9-8 in an extra end against China -- and has a bye on Monday.

Sweden (8-1) took first place and Canada will finish second but the third and fourth playoff spots are still up for grabs, with China, Great Britain and Norway still in the running.

The Jacobs team, which includes third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Hardnen and lead Ryan Harnden, started the tournament 1-2 but reeled off six straight wins since their slow start.

"It's nice to end the round-robin with another win and keep on this roll," Jacobs said.

"We kind of got ahead of ourselves coming here. When you're coming to the Olympics there's so much hype about gold, gold, gold, gold, gold. That's really drilled into you, especially as we're the Canadian men's curling team. We kind of let that get to us a little bit (earlier in the tournament). We just had to refocus, regroup, rethink our whole strategy."

Jones, a four-time Canadian champion and one-time world champ, has had some tough games, but has been clutch in the late ends and is getting solid performances from everyone on her team.

"The quality and calibre of teams here is so tremendous that you're going to have battles out there, but we're finding a way to be in control of our own game and holding our fate in our own hands," Jones said.

"We had a plan and it worked out perfectly. We couldn't have asked for anything to go any better. Now it's just a matter of trying to figure out a way to play well in the playoffs."

Sweden also has qualified for the women's playoffs, while China, Great Britain and Switzerland will battle it out for the final two spots.

China's Bingyu Wang, Great Britain's Eve Muirhead and Switzerland's Miriam Ott are all former world champions and Ott has won two Olympic medals.

ted.wyman@sunmedia.ca

 

 


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