Winter Youth Olympic Games - Day 7 Mixed Doubles - Midday Update

Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

The unique Mixed Doubles Curling Competition got underway on Friday morning at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

This part of the event sees athletes from different nations paired together to form teams. The team line ups were decided on the final standings of the Mixed Team Curling Competition which took place at the start of the Games. In all, there are 32 teams in the Mixed Doubles event which is a single knockout. Medal games will take place at 13:00 local time (CET) on SunDay 22 January.

In the opening session, the duo of Michael Brunner (SUI) and Nicole Muskatewitz (GER) beat Sarah Anderson (USA) and partner Keon Go (KOR) 8-6.

Brunner, who skipped the Swiss to Gold in the Mixed Team Curling Competition, said: “It was really good playing with Nicole, she is a good curler and it was an interesting experience playing with another nation. Mixed [Doubles] Curling is great fun, with so many stones it’s a lot more offensive, which suits my style of play.”

Norway’s Ina Rolle Back and partner Jin Bo Wang from China got locked in a tight contest with Austria’s Camilla Schnabel and Jordan Wahlin from Sweden and came through to win 8-7.

“I think very highly of my new partner,” said China’s Jin Bo Wang on winning their game. “She did a really good job on the key stones and she is very competitive. But I think I need to learn more English so I can communicate better with her! We played well today and I hope we can continue to perform throughout the competition.”

Canada’s Thomas Scoffin was paired with New Zealand’s Kelsi Heath and faced Mizuki Kitaguchi from Japan and Great Britain’s Thomas Muirhead, younger brother of curling’s Athlete Role Model at the the games, Eve Muirhead.

“We had a great game. Japan and Great Britain battled hard. The score wasn’t exactly how the game went,” said Scoffin on winning the game 9-5. “Kelsi’s a great player, she made a beautiful shot in the last end to seal the victory.”

On Mixed Doubles, Scoffin commented: “I love it, it’s great fun. It’s cool to meet people from across the world. New Zealand is the opposite corner of the world to Canada so you couldn’t have picked two people who live much further away from each other.”

In the final game of the session the Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hruzova and Russia’s Mikhail Vaskov faced Marie Turmann (EST) and Alessandro Zoppi (ITA). The Czech/Russian duo stole their way to a 10-3 win.

Speaking through an interpreter, Hruzova and Vaskov’s coach, Anna Gretskaya, explained that this part of the competition was very interesting because two players from different countries play together. However, she said she was very worried about how it was going to work. Because she doesn’t speak English very well and she was worried that she might not understand what the other team member might ask her. But in the end, she realised that they all had the same objective and that it was going to work out. By using only two or three words, they were able to understand each other.

More quotes from the sessions can be found here: http://innsbruck2012.curlingevents.com

In Session 2, the Russian/USA duo Marina Verenich (RUS) and Korey Dropkin (USA) made Youth Olympic Game history by becoming the first team to score a perfect ‘six’ ender in their game against Switzerland’s Elena Stern and Estonia’s Sander Rouk. In Mixed Doubles, teams only have six stones each. Verenich and Dropkin went on to win the game 13-3.

"Yeah, I was excited, and I forgot," Dropkin said and laughed after the game. "I just didn't realize it at first and then I was like, 'Wait, this is my fourth rock!'"

Johanna Heldin from Sweden and teammate Luke Steele from New Zealand, trailed behind their opponents Angharad Ward (GBR) and Markus Skogvold (NOR) for much of their game, but they took four points in the 7th end and tied the game up at 8-8. The last end was crucial and they managed a steal of one for a 9-8 win.

“It was pretty intense. We knew we could steal a big end so we just had to do it. And we did!” explained Steele afterwards. “We had to get that last end and get the freeze and we managed to do that. We were set up from there and had to get the guards and stones in the right place. We gelled pretty well together as a team I think.”

Canada’s Corryn Brown teamed up with Austria’s Martin Reichel won their game against Ying Cao (CHN) and Shingo Usui (JPN) 6-4.

“It feels great to win because this competition is pretty tough,” said Brown. “It’s single knock-out, so it’s really great to get our first game out the way with a win.”

And in the final game of the session Korea’s Sueyeon Kang and Czech Krystof Krupansky beat Arianna Losano from Italy and her teammate Daniel Rothballer from Germany 10-5. It was a win that Kang put down to great teamwork.

Instead of playing in teams of four, mixed doubles curling is for teams of two players – one male and one female. The game is played on the same sheets of ice as ‘traditional’ curling.
Teams have only six stones each (instead of eight) and one of those stones, from each team, is prepositioned on the centreline before each end of play starts. One player delivers the first and last stones and the other player plays the 2nd, 3rd and 4th stones. The two players can swap positions from one end to the next if they choose. The sweeping can be done by both team members.
Curling fans can keep up to date with the latest scores from the event via the World Curling Federation micro-site: http://www.innsbruck2012.curlingevents.com

The World Curling Federation is also be updating regularly from the event via their fan feeds on Twitter http://twitter.com/worldcurling and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/WorldCurlingFederation

A daily highlights Video clip covering all of the Winter Olympic sports taking place at the Games will be available on the Innsbruck 2012 YouTube site http://www.youtube.com/innsbruck2012