GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) - Gold-medal winning Canadian curlers Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris tasted Olympic defeat for the first time on Thursday when they were upset by a pair of betrothed Norwegians.
Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten, engaged to be married, downed the top-ranked Canadians 9-6 on day one of the mixed doubles tournament here.
While mixed doubles is only making its debut in the Pyeongchang Olympics, Lawes and Morris each have a gold medal from the traditional single-sex version of the game. Morris won his in Vancouver in 2010, and Lawes got hers in Sochi in 2014.
The two were each 11-0 in Olympic curling play before Thursday’s loss.
“I think we had a strong game overall,” Morris said. “There were probably three key shots in the later ends that I didn’t execute that was the turning point of that game. I make any of them and we’re in a good position.”
Mixed doubles curling is one of four new events in the 2018 Winter Olympics and was the first event overall to kick off official competition. The Pyeongchang Olympics formally opens on Friday and runs through Feb. 25.
The Norwegian’s victory featured a highlight-reel shot by Skaslien. A so-called “angle-raised takeout,” she knocked out the Canadians’ stones and ended up scoring three points in the second end of the match.
In most curling venues, it was a play that would have generated huge cheers from the stands, but the hometown crowd here at the Gangneung Curling Center only roared when the South Koreans, playing on the adjacent sheet, made a good play in their game against Finland.
“It was quiet,” Skaslien said, “but I heard our commentator, our Norwegian commentator up in the stands say: ‘Oh what a shot!’”
Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty