SOCHI, Russia >> Sweden won the bronze medal in men’s Olympic curling on Friday, beating China 6-4 in a nerve-jangling game that hinged on the final shot in an extra end and two major technical blunders by the Chinese.
China skip Liu Rui had the chance to win the game by making an extremely difficult takeout with a draw on the last rock. His effort was slightly heavy, though, and the rock glanced off a Swedish stone that was stationed on the button.
The Swedish players gave each other big hugs on the ice, having won the country’s first medal in men’s curling since the sport returned to the Olympic program in 1998. The women’s team won the silver medal on Thursday, losing to Canada.
“Super thrilled,” said Sweden skip Niklas Edin, whose world champion team finished the round-robin in first place at 8-1 before losing to Britain in the semifinals. “A fourth place again would have been expensive for all of us, as human beings, curlers and as a team as well.
“For Swedish curling, medals on both sides, it’s a huge step forward.”
While Liu’s miss his final rock was excusable, two technical violations by the Chinese delivering rocks in key moments in the ninth and extra ends were not. Both Liu and Xu Xiaoming failed to release stones before the delivery line, causing a red light to go off and their rocks to be pulled.
“Sometimes you get beat because the other team outperforms you and sometimes you beat yourself,” China coach Marcel Rocque said. “Today was one of those — that really wasn’t about (Sweden), that was about us and two mistakes.”
Canada plays Britain later in the gold-medal game.