Bruce Mouat’s Team GB beaten by ‘greatest in history’ Niklas Edin in Olympic curling final

Sweden’s Niklas Edin was once dubbed the ‘John McEnroe of curling’ for bad-tempered outbursts but this was an ice-cool display at the expense of the youthful Bruce Mouat

<p>Bruce Mouat’s men’s curling team faced Sweden in the Olympic final (Andrew Milligan/PA)</p>

Bruce Mouat’s men’s curling team faced Sweden in the Olympic final (Andrew Milligan/PA)

And now it really is all about Eve.

With just over 24 hours of these Olympics remaining, Great Britain are finally off the mark but it’s silver, not gold, as Bruce Mouat lost a tense and tactical men’s curling final on an extra end.

Women’s skip Eve Muirhead, watching in the crowd, now knows it comes down to her if Team GB are going to avoid leaving a Games without a gold for the first time since 2006.

Sweden’s Niklas Edin was once dubbed the “John McEnroe of curling” for bad-tempered outbursts early in his career but this was an ice-cool display at the expense of the youthful Mouat, at 27 the youngest skip in the entire tournament.

Edin, nine years Mouat’s senior, dominates his sport like no other player, winning five world titles but losing in the Olympic final four years ago in Pyeongchang, while taking the bronze in 2014.

Mouat’s rink have been the form team at the Olympics, winning eight straight games before this final, but in the end canny Edin outfought and outmanoeuvred them. In a match lasting nearly three hours, tension slowly ratcheting up with every stone, he always seemed to have a vice-like grip.

“This result drives us forward, we’ve put in so much work over the last five years, we won’t let that go to waste,” said Mouat.

“We’ll be driving even harder to get that gold medal next time. Niklas has had such an impressive career and he’s one of the best in curling history. He’s an example of what we can do in four years’ time.

“We just need to get to that point again but make the result different. It was pretty close but we gave them too much of a head start.”

Both men are too polite to call this a grudge match, after all this is curling, where brooms are always neatly placed and very rarely hurled.

However, Mouat and Edin’s rivalry already dominates their sport, Edin starting this match with a narrow 12-10 advantage in the head-to-head standings.

The British team react to defeat

The Swede won the world title against Mouat’s rink in Calgary last year but the British skip has had his measure since.

Mouat, Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan beat Edin twice on his way to the European title in Norway last year and edged their round robin game here in Beijing. But on the biggest stage of all, Edin played the perfect game, dead eye unerring whenever really challenged.

It was a tight, attritional and high-quality game, one for the purists, said experts, with both sides looking to force each other into mistakes, Sweden stealing a shot in the third end and Great Britain nicking it back in the seventh.

Mouat played a pressure draw to force an extra end but Sweden had the crucial advantage of the hammer – the final stone – and they made it count to win 5-4.

“We’re still very proud, particularly how we played all week,” said vice skip Hardie. “At the moment the overriding emotion is disappointment that we didn’t bring home the gold for everyone.”

Coach David Murdoch can certainly empathise how his young team feels, having lost the Olympic final in Sochi eight years ago. The difference is, he was at the end of his competitive career – Mouat is just getting started.

“There’s longevity in the squad, they’re still in their 20s, Niklas is a little bit older so we’d like to think there’s years ahead for this sport,” he said.

“They’ve learned so fast to be sure, they’re already at the pinnacle of the sport and could have been champions and hopefully we’ll re-rack and go again.

“There’s no bigger stage than Olympic final, and for Niklas to come out there and make some of the shots he did was incredible.

“He is the greatest in history for me. He’s won five world champs, gold, silver, bronze; there’s no doubt he’s the best.”

There was no new “stone of destiny” but the future certainly does look bright according to Rhona Martin, who won Britain’s last curling gold 20 years ago in Salt Lake City.

“They will be hurting right now, understandably so,” said Martin. “What a great week they’ve had. They probably can’t see it now but the future’s so bright for this young team. They are up and coming, there’s no doubt.

“They are phenomenal and it’s exciting, what lies ahead of them. Our boys can be so proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Watch All the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 live on discovery+, Eurosport and Eurosport app

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in