Australia was looking for its first Olympic curling win, but Team USA stole a point in the eighth for a 6-5 victory and the first win of the 2022 Games.
It was a day of firsts on the curling ice Wednesday morning.
On the first day of Olympic competition, mixed doubles curling was the first sport to compete. It was the first Olympic competition for American curlers Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys, who qualified for the Games at an Olympic Qualifying Event last December.
At the same event, Australians Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill also qualified, putting Australia in the Olympics for curling for the first time.
The two teams battled back and forth early before Persinger missed a takeout that allowed Australia to get three easy points for a 5-3 lead in the sixth.
The Americans redeemed themselves with a perfectly played double-takeout by Persinger in the seventh to tie the score and help keep Team USA in the game, 5-5, going into the final end.
On the U.S.’s final throw of the eighth end, Persinger put the rock right on the button, offering Australia a seemingly easy pick-off attempt with hammer for the win.
But Gill’s throw missed everything, going wide and through the house to allow the U.S. to steal for the win.
Australia got the first point thanks to a triple-takeout by Gill with hammer in the first end. The U.S. had played well, placing four stones in the house, including one on the button, and looked poised to get a steal before Gill’s shot.
With a crowded house, the U.S. had a chance at several points in the fourth, but was unable to capitalize on its hammer throw, settling for just a single point that tied the score at 2-2 halfway through play.
A takeout by Persinger on the U.S.’s final throw in the fifth left Australia needing a perfect hammer throw to salvage a point. Gill was unable to do it, and Team USA stole a point for their first lead of the day, 3-2.
The U.S. will be back on the ice at 8:05 p.m. EST Wednesday night against Italy. Australia will also return to the ice at 8:05 p.m. EST Wednesday against China.