The 24th Winter Olympics came to a conclusion with a spectacular closing ceremony in the national stadium and ended with the handover of the Olympic flag from Beijing to Milan/Cortina for the 2026 Winter Olympics. Norway had resounding success at these games, topping the medal table (16 gold, 8 silver and 13 bronze- total of 37) ahead of Germany (27 medals) and host nation China who garnered a total of 15 medals.
For Team GB, it was an underwhelming games compared to the summer games of years gone by. One of the hopes for a medal was on 35year old, experienced Dave Ryding, but unfortunately finished 13th in the men’s slalom after making a big mistake which ate into his time and saw him drop out of medal contention quite quickly.
These games didn’t offer much hope for GB to win any medals with British hopefuls dropping out of medal contention quite quickly, the hopes were pinned upon the curlers to salvage any hopes of medals. The Men’s team had a successful round robin campaign only suffering one defeat to the 2018 Olympic champions in the USA which paved the way for them to advance to the semi finals. Bruce Mouat (skipper) and his team faced a tough task in the semi finals, up against the Americans who were chasing down back to back gold medals led by the vocal John Shuster. The game played out very similar to the round robin stage with Shuster showing his experience in some of his shots, but every shot was matched by Mouat and his team ultimately seeing GB round up as 8-4 winners, guaranteeing them with at minimum a silver medal. The success of the men was matched by the women who also had advanced to the gold medal match after overcoming the 2018 champions Sweden 12-11 in what was a tense watch with Anna Hasselborg forcing an extra end being played.
Beijing 2022 was looking like it would end up ending as a nothing event for Team GB, yet very much ended up the complete opposite with curling salvaging the games for GB. The Men up against Sweden and the Women up against Japan in their quest for gold medals. Unfortunately Team GB were nudged out of a golden finish to their Olympic games by the swedes led by Niklas Edin who had finally won the elusive Olympic gold medal in what was his fourth attempt with an extra-end victory over Bruce Mouat’s resilient British side and running out 5-4 winners.
Surely, GB would walk away with a gold in the curling as both team’s efforts warranted a gold. Thankfully, in the early hours of Sunday (20th Feb) morning UK time, Eve Muirhead’s team stroke gold and absolutely thrashing Japan 10-3, leaving skip Muirhead full of emotion as they had replicated the success of Rhona Howie’s team 20 years ago in Salt Lake City 2002:
“It’s a dream come true,” “That was my third semi-final, and the two I lost were hard but I bounced back and here we are. We are Olympic champions. It’s such a special moment.”Eve Muirhead speaking to BBC Sport following their success in Beijing
Personally speaking, I was so proud watching these two teams win medals at these games, it’s clear that the hard work they put in prior to Beijing had paid off with some of the play that we had the privilege of watching and their achievements inspired the nation in organising large watch-long’s to the finals and for many to adventure out and take up curling.
If you want to take up curling, follow this link- https://www.trycurling.com -and find your nearest rink.