FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 8, 2018
Team USA wins opener as Olympic mixed doubles debuts in Gangneung
(GANGNEUNG, South Korea) – Team USA’s Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton started the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on a winning note as they defeated the Olympic Athletes from Russia, 9-3, as the round robin got underway today. It was a historic day as the discipline made its Olympic debut at the Gangneung Curling Centre.
The Hamilton siblings, making their Olympic debuts as well, started strong and never let off the throttle in the win over Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, who won the world mixed doubles title in 2016.
“Nice to get out on the ice, surprisingly didn’t feel any jitters,” said Matt Hamilton, 28, who shot 83 percent. “We had a really good team practice yesterday and got the rocks dialed in. Felt confident going out there. Really happy being out on the ice and it paid off for us. We played strong and had a good win. The only thing that I would’ve changed is that I wouldn’t have fallen!” Hamilton slipped late in the game while sweeping a stone in the rings.
The U.S. team outshot their opponent 84 percent to 63. “Conditions were great, speed was right where we expected it to be. It was pretty quick,” Matt Hamilton said. “There’s one turn that wanted to curl more than the other one. But, they are very predictable. It was the same speed across the sheet. I felt pretty good about it. After it got broken in after practice, it was great ice.”
The Americans got the offense going out of the gates with Becca Hamilton delivering a double takeout to score three points in the opening end. Bryzgalova and Krushelnitckii answered with a deuce in the second end when Krushelnitckii tapped out an American stone in second position.
“You know in mixed doubles you’re never safe with a three-point lead. Anyone can score big ends, so we’re just focusing on capitalizing on their misses and coming out with the win at the end of the day,” said Becca Hamilton, who shot 88 percent.
Team USA put the pressure on the OAR team in the fourth end and ending up stealing a point. The Americans had five stones in the four-foot in scoring position when Krushelnitckii went to throw his final stone of the fifth end. Trying to reduce the damage, Team OAR eliminated some granite, but gave up a steal of two points as the U.S. extended its lead to 7-2.
The Russian duo put the power play into use in the sixth end in an effort to generate some offense. The power play moves the pre-positioned stones to a corner guard and stone behind it in the house to begin the end versus the center guard with a stone behind it in the four-foot. Teams can use the power play once per game, but not in an extra end. It didn’t work out well for the OAR as they secured just a single point.
The Americans, hoping to put the game away in the seventh, utilized their power play as well – but had better results. The U.S. team had control from the start of the end and had four stones in scoring position after Matt Hamilton’s third stone was delivered. The OAR played a nice freeze that reduced the scoring area, but the Americans drew in to score two points to put the game away.
“We played them at the world championships last year in Lethbridge and lost. We knew that we were going to have strong competition going in [to this game],” Becca Hamilton said. “We were able to get a good handle on the ice and really capitalize on misses and get the win at the end of the day.”
The Americans (1-0) will return to the ice at 8 tonight to take on Canada’s Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris, who lost to Norway, 9-6.
In other games today, Korea’s Hyeji Jang and Kijeong Lee defeated Finland’s Oona Kauste and Tomi Rantamaki, 9-4. The reigning world champions from Switzerland – Jenny Perret and Martin Rios – went to an extra end to defeat China’s Rui Wang and Dexin Ba, 7-5.
USA line score:
*USA 301 120 2x – 9
OAR 020 001 0x – 3
*last rock to begin game
Olympic mixed doubles curling competition, Team USA schedule (all times local, +15 CT):
Thursday, Feb. 8:
- 8:05 p.m., USA vs. Canada (Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris)
Friday, Feb. 9:
- 8:35 a.m., USA vs. Switzerland (Jenny Perret and Martin Rios)
- 1:35 p.m., USA vs. Korea (Hyeji Jang and Kijeong Lee)
Saturday, Feb. 10:
- 9:05 a.m., USA vs. China (Rui Wang and Dexin Ba)
- 8:05 p.m., USA vs. Norway (Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten)
Sunday, Feb. 11:
- 9:05 a.m., USA vs. Finland (Oona Kauste and Tomi Rantamaki)
- 8:05 p.m., tiebreaker games, if needed
Monday, Feb. 12:
- 9:05 a.m., semifinal 1
- 8:05 p.m., semifinal 2
Tuesday, Feb. 13:
- 9:05 a.m., bronze-medal game
- 8:05 p.m., gold-medal game
USA round robin results:
USA 9, OAR 3
All games will stream live at www.nbcolympics.com with NBC’s TV coverage being live and on tape delay on NBCSN and CNBC. A complete schedule is posted at http://www.nbcolympics.com/live-stream-schedule#/.
For more information or to request images: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 0-104-364-8015 (Korean mobile).