Host City: Nagano, Japan
Venue(s): Kazakoshi Park Arena, Karuizawa
Date Started: February 9, 1998
Date Finished: February 15, 1998
Format: Round-robin pool, followed by single-elimination medal round.
Sweden had caused a mild surprise by winning the 1997 world championships but Canada were still acknowledged as strong favourites. Since 90% of the world's curlers were Canadians it could be argued that any time that Canada fails to wins a championship is an upset. They had won 24 world titles since the championships' inception in 1959, with the next most successful, the USA, having taken just four.
Canada eased into the semi-finals with a 6-1 record, their only loss coming when they had already secured a place in the last four. Norway and Switzerland also qualified comfortably for the semis but the fourth qualifier, the American team, had to win two tie-breaker games to reach the medal games. The two semi-finals were contrasting; Canada took an early lead against the USA and pulled away for an easy 7-1 victory whilst the Switzerland-Norway match came down to the final end where the game was decided by a single point to the Swiss.
Comfortably expected to win the gold medal, the Canadian then had an unmitigated disaster in the final and trailed 9-1 after six of the ten ends. Although Mike Harris's Canadian team pulled back two shots to only lose 9-3, Patrick Hürlimann's Lausanne club rink were crowned Olympic champions. Norway added to North American disappointment by defeating the USA for bronze.