Watch live outside China’s National Stadium as Winter Olympics come to close
Great Britain’s women, led by Eve Muirhead, went one better than the men in their gold medal match against Japan at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The men’s team fell short yesterday when Sweden claimed gold to deny Bruce Mouat and his team. Swedish skip Niklas Edin proved too good and repeated their victory over Great Britain in a 2014 semi-final. Muirhead overcame almost impossible odds to steer her women’s curling team into the Olympic final where she completed an incredible journey to finally fulfil an ambition that appeared beyond her after a decade at the top of her sport. Team coach Murdoch put her chances of salvaging victory at “less than 10 per cent” after shipping four shots in a disastrous opening end to defending Olympic champions Sweden, but they clawed back to clinch a thrilling 12-11 victory in an extra end.
In the final, Muirhead guided Great Britain to their first and only gold of the Games, beating Japan 10-3 to claim the joint-biggest margin of victory in a final since the sport was reintroduced in ‘98. With all events now closed and the medals handed out, it only remains for the closing ceremony to take place and the baton to be passed on to Italy.
Follow live coverage from the Winter Olympics below:
Women’s curling gold gives Bruce Mouat extra motivation to replicate success at Milano-Cortina
Eve Muirhead gave Bruce Mouat an extra morsel of motivation to turn Beijing silver into glistening gold in Milano-Cortina.
Muirhead and Mouat’s brilliant performances marked the first time that two British curling teams have stood on the podium at the same Games. While Muirhead cantered to 10-3 victory in the gold medal match against Japan, Mouat was narrowly outwitted 5-4 by Sweden in a low-scoring thriller.
The 27-year-old didn’t need any more incentive to chase top step in four years’ time, but Muirhead gave it to him anyway.
“That gold medal looked very good on them!”, Mouat said. “I think all the girls suit in completely. Now it’s down to the hard work that me and the boys put in so we can get our own one in four years’ time.”
Dan Austin20 February 2022 11:54
Norway top final medal table
Norway have topped the final medal table standings in Beijing, retaining the top spot they earned in Pyeongchang four years ago.
The star of the show for the Norwegians was biathlete Johannes Thingnes Boe, who won a whopping four golds in China, including the prestigious mass start crown.
Second in the standings were Germany, who continues their domination of the sliding sports such as luge, skeleton, and bobsleigh. Luger Natalie Geisenberger won two golds in Beijing to become her nation’s most decorated Winter Olympic ever.
In third with nine golds was host nation China, with freestyle skier Eileen Gu the star of the show after taking victory in the halfpipe and big air events.
The USA, Sweden, and the Netherlands just missed out on a spot on the podium with eight goals each, while the Team GB women’s curling goal lifted Great Britain up to nineteenth in the standings.
Dan Austin20 February 2022 11:43
Controversial Beijing Games coming to a close
Beijing hands the Olympic flag to Milan-Cortina on Sunday after a Games that will be remembered for the extremes of its anti-COVID-19 measures and outrage over the doping scandal that enveloped 15-year-old Russian skating sensation Kamila Valieva.
The Olympics were stalked by politics, with several countries staging a diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record, and the spectre of invasion of Ukraine by Russia, with President Vladimir Putin attending the opening ceremony in a show of solidarity against the West with President Xi Jinping.
Still, China was spared any embarrassing protests by competitors over its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority or anything else, and the thousands of foreign journalists on hand were stuck inside the closed-loop, unable to report more widely.
The tightly sealed bubble prevented the spread of the novel coronavirus at the Olympics or into the community, vindicating a zero-COVID policy that has isolated China inside what are nearly closed borders that shows no sign of easing.
Tony Munroe20 February 2022 11:32
Dutch dominance of speed skating comes to end of an era
Rival countries chipped away at the Netherlands’ domination of speed skating, diversifying the medal tally at the Beijing Olympics in comparison to previous Winter Games.
The Dutch still scooped 12 medals – more than a quarter of the 42 up for grabs – but had a harder struggle to get on the podium compared to the clean sweeps seen in Sochi and Pyeongchang.
Canada won five medals, up from two in the previous Games, while competitive performances from Sweden, Japan, and South Korea also resulted in a host of medals for those countries.
The Beijing Games also marked the end of an era for Dutch skating, with greats such as Sven Kramer and Ireen Wust, who have announced their retirement, racing at their last Olympics.
Sakura Murakami20 February 2022 11:21
White bids farewell to Olympic Games
Shaun White, whose name and achievements have long loomed large over the sport of snowboarding, said his farewells at the Beijing Winter Games. Ripping off his helmet and goggles after the his final run in the halfpipe final, the American soaked up the roars of a cheering crowd one last time and burst into tears.
White, who decided to retire from competition during a quiet moment alone watching the sun set over a snowy peak, exited the Olympics with a fourth-place finish in the halfpipe, his signature event where he won three golds at previous Games.
Sobbing and hugging his board, White, who at 35 was the oldest finalist in the halfpipe, was quickly embraced by team mates and rivals alike, many of whom grew up idolising him.
“As hard as it is to say goodbye I’m happy to have inspired the next generation,” White said as he tearfully hugged Ayumu Hirano of Japan, who won gold by landing a triple cork for the first time at an Olympics. “It’s your turn,” White could be heard telling Hirano.
Hirano, 23, and Su Yiming, 17, ushered in a new era for the sport. Su, who was a child actor, became a social media sensation after bagging the Big Air title and becoming China’s youngest ever Winter Games gold medallist.
Mari Saito20 February 2022 11:10
Beijing Winter Olympics closing ceremony on the way
Next up in Beijing is the closing ceremony, as the Games are officially declared closed and the baton is passed over to Italy.
Milan and Cortina-D’Ampezzo will be the hosts in 2026.
Karl Matchett20 February 2022 10:53
Bruce Mouat vows to bounce back after having to settle for Olympic silver
Bruce Mouat has vowed to bounce back from the heartbreak of having to settle for a silver medal and emulate Eve Muirhead’s march to the top of an Olympic podium.
Mouat was in the crowd at the Ice Cube to watch Muirhead’s women’s team brush aside Japan 10-3 to claim Great Britain’s first curling gold medal since Rhona Martin’s famous triumph in 2002.
Muirhead’s success came less than 24 hours after Mouat and team-mates Hammy McMillan, Grant Hardie and Bobby Lammie were brilliantly snuffed out by Swedish skip Niklas Edin in their own gold medal match.
“That gold medal looked very good on them and now it’s down to hard work from the boys so that we can be the ones putting one on in four years’ time,” said Mouat.
“The loss yesterday is going to hurt for a while. The guys and I have got the same drive to get back in 2026 and fight hard for that gold medal.
“We came so close coming into an extra end with Niklas, but we’re going to give it our all. It’s been a dream of ours for a lifetime.”
Mouat, who missed out in a bronze medal play-off in the mixed doubles competition with Muirhead’s team-mate Jennifer Dodds earlier in the Games, paid tribute to the skip’s remarkable resilience.
The way Mouat’s men skated through to the semi-finals was in stark contrast to the struggles of Muirhead’s side, who relied on a stroke of fortune before finally finding their form in the last four.
“Eve has been a great ambassador for our sport for so long now,” added Mouat. “With the team that she’s got right now, what a resilient team that is.
“They’ve had to battle so hard over the last 12 months to get to this point and I’m over the moon for them. I managed to see Jen afterwards and I gave her the biggest hug ever. I can’t stop smiling for them.”
Karl Matchett20 February 2022 10:45
Eve Muirhead savours ‘dream come true’ after ‘rollercoaster’ ride to Olympic gold
Eve Muirhead likes to bemoan those damned ‘Curling Gods’ but she admitted someone upstairs was finally looking benevolently down on her.
Because there was certainly plenty of reasons to dub this against the odds gold medal victory as the Mira-curl on Ice, very few seasoned observers giving her a chance on arrival in Beijing.
Muirhead and her rink, Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds and Hailey Duff produced a flawless final performance to claim Team GB’s first gold, just eight hours before the closing ceremony. In sport, timing is everything.
There was no ‘Stone of Destiny’, the fabled rock that Rhona Martin delivered in Salt Lake City to win Team GB’s last curling gold 20 years ago.
This was a relentless grinding performance against Japan, a one-sided clash secured with an end to spare, Muirhead’s tactics judged to perfection, her team’s accuracy unerring.
“This is a moment I dreamed of as a young child,” said Muirhead, 31, who had lost in two Olympic semi-finals but won bronze in 2014.
“To stand on the podium and get that gold medal round your neck is a moment I’ll never forget. It was emotional but I managed to hold it in until the flag was getting raised.
“I’ve been close many times but I just haven’t been over the line and this was the one gold medal missing from the collection.”
Read the full reaction to winning gold from Team GB’s legendary curling hero here:
Karl Matchett20 February 2022 10:30
Eve Muirhead hails gold medal achievements of Great Britain’s reconstructed curling team
Team Muirhead has been constructed over four years – painfully and painstakingly – qualifying for the Games at the final attempt and going on to win gold.
The three debutants all bring something different to the table and have brought the best out of their skip, playing at her peak at her fourth Olympic Games.
Muirhead’s trusty vice-skip is Vicky Wright, who joined the team in 2019, a close confidant and first port of call for tactical plotting.
“When I first started curling with Vicky, she was actually lead on the team,” said Muirhead.
“When there was a change made and she was put she was put to third, she didn’t want to do it! It took a lot of encouragement and persuasion to show she was one of the best thirds in the world.
“Now she’s standing on the podium with an Olympic gold medal round her neck.”
More from the skip on the rest of her team here:
Karl Matchett20 February 2022 10:15
Eve Muirhead backed as ‘greatest of all time’ after adding Olympic gold
David Murdoch believes Eve Muirhead could go on to become the greatest women’s curler of all time.
Olympic silver medallist Murdoch, the coach to Team GB’s newest Olympic champions, was a team-mate of Muirhead in Sochi and Vancouver, where she made her debut as a teenager.
Now 31, he believes Olympic gold could be just the inspiration she needs to push on and dominate the sport with her superstar rink of Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff and Mili Smith.
“She could definitely go on to be one of the greatest ever,” said Murdoch.
“She’s been around so long, she’s won World Championships and Europeans and now she’s got that Olympic medal, she’s done everything in the sport.
“She’s one of the most dedicated athletes you’ll ever see, never a day goes by when she doesn’t commit 100 per cent to training, and if you do that you’ve got to hope that you get your rewards.”
Karl Matchett20 February 2022 10:00