Switzerland/Japan win Mixed Doubles Gold in Lillehammer

  • Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

Philipp Hoesli, 14, has won his second medal of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, taking Gold in the Mixed Doubles curling along with partner Yako Matsuzawa, 16, from Japan, who becomes the first Japanese curler to win an Olympic medal.

The pair won their Gold medal game, 11-5, this afternoon (Sunday 21 February) in the Curling Hall at the Stampsletta Ice Venues, against the China/Great Britain team of Yu Han, 15, and Ross Whyte, 17.

Hoesli who is the youngest curling athlete at these Games played lead for the Bronze medal winning Swiss team in the Mixed event earlier this week, and Matsuzawa who was vice-skip for Japan, also won their semi-final this morning, 7-6 against China/Norway.

For all scores, standings, quotes and pictures from YOG 2016  visit, www.worldcurling.org/yog2016

Yu Han, who played lead for China during the Mixed team event last week and Whyte who skipped Great Britain collected Sliver. They won their semi-final against the Japan/Canada pair of Honoka Sasaki, 17, and Tyler Tardi, 17, 6-3.

There was a Bronze medal for the host nation, Norway, and a second place on the podium for China, after Andreas Haarstad, 17, Norway’s second, and China’s third, Ruiyi Zhao, 16, beat the Japan/Canada pair, 10-1.

In the Gold medal game, Matsuzawa and Hoesli scored a crucial four points in the fourth end, establishing a 6-3 lead at the break. Their opponents scored one point in the next end, but a well played Power Play saw Japan/Switzerland spread their stones out well in the house and take a five in the sixth end. China/Great Britain scored one more point in the seventh end and chose to concede the game at this stage, 11-5.

Harstad and Zhao made their medal ambitions clear quickly in the Bronze medal game, by stealing two points in each of the second and third ends and a single point in the fourth end. This gave them a 6-0 lead at the break. Japan/Canada scored a point after the break before their opponents extended their lead with three points in the sixth end and a point in the seventh. The game was conceded at this stage and ended 10-1.

This Mixed Doubles competition, which saw a total of 32 teams – made up of one female player from one National Olympic Committee and a male player from another NOC – competing, is unique to the Winter Youth Olympic Games. This format debuted in Innsbruck, Austria four years ago at the first Youth Olympic Games.

The event complements the International Olympic Committee's 'Learn & Share' programme at the Games, which aims to make the Games an educational experience for the athletes.

The Mixed Doubles teams were determined by the athletes’ position within their team and their nations overall position at the end of the Mixed competition.

Mixed Doubles curling will make its Olympic Winter Games debut in Pyeongchang, Korea in 2018.

Mixed Doubles Curling is played on the same sheets of ice as ‘traditional’ curling. However, there are some key differences.

Instead of playing in teams of four, Mixed Doubles curling is for teams of two players – one male and one female, with no alternates.

Teams have only six stones each, instead of eight, and one of those stones from each team is prepositioned on the centre-line before each end of play starts.

They Said It:

Yako Matsuzawa; Team JPN|SUI (after winning Gold): “I feel so happy now, because I got the medal that I really wanted. Sometimes I couldn't concentrate, but I felt that the members of the other teams were always making good decisions. So I learned a lot from the other teams. We decided to high-five after every shot, if it was a good shot or not.”

Philipp Hoesli; Team JPN|SUI (after winning Gold): “It's awesome [being a Gold medalist], I'm so-so happy and I can't believe it right now. It's just awesome! I think that the score was not like the game. The game was closer and tight. Both teams had great shots, so it was tight. I knew that I'm the youngest curler here, for me it's normal. It's every time like this, in Switzerland too because I'm the youngest from the Swiss delegation. I'm really tired now; I want to sleep right now.”

Yu Han; Team CHN|GBR (after winning Silver): “I feel very happy and excited because we are a new team and we have reached second place and for our efforts we get a medal. Ross [Whyte] is a very good player. Even if I made a mistakes he would always encourage me.”

Ross Whyte; Team CHN|GBR (after winning Silver): “Getting a medal for GB is just amazing. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and achieving it is brilliant. Yu [Han] has been amazing, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. She played really well throughout the whole competition. Having had this whole experience will help my curling hugely.”

Ruiyi Zhao; Team CHN|NOR (after winning Bronze): “The reason I could get a medal was based on my efforts, so I'm very happy now. We lost our semi-final in the morning, and we adjusted to the situation very quickly, so we had a very correct attitude towards the Bronze medal game. I will definitely keep in touch with Andreas in the future.”

Andreas Haarstad; Team CHN|NOR (after winning Bronze): “It means so much, I'm so proud right now. This game was a really good team performance. I think it was our best game so far. We just had good communication, we hit a lot of stones. I don't know how I'm going to celebrate, I'm just too happy right now.”

RESULTS, finals:

Gold: China/Great Britain 5-11 Japan/Switzerland; Bronze: Japan/Canada 1-10 China/Norway

RESULTS, after semi-finals:

China/Great Britain 6-3 Japan/Canada; China/Norway 6-7 Japan/Switzerland

Curling fans can see the action from Lillehammer 2016 on social media:

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