Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Vancouver Olympic Centre, Vancouver
Date Started: February 16, 2010
Date Finished: February 26, 2010
Format: Round-robin pool, followed by single-elimination medal round.
Whilst Canada were favourites to win the gold medal on home soil, their main challengers were felt to be the reigning world champions China, who had only been participating seriously in the sport for around 10 years, and reigning Olympic champions Sweden. The Canadians won the round robin phase, despite a 6-5 defeat to China. Sweden advanced to the semi-final stage with seven wins. China, despite starting with a 5-4 defeat to Great Britain, rallied to finish third with six wins. Even more remarkable was Mirjam Ott's Switzerland team who lost their first three matches, but a run of six straight wins ensured they were the fourth semi finalist.
In the semi-finals, Sweden and China were close until the fifth end when Sweden scored three points to take a 6-1 lead. Although China pulled this back to 6-3, a further three points at the eighth end effectively won the game for Sweden. In the end they won the match 9-4. The other match was a far closer event although Canada were never behind. Leading 6-4 as they came to the final end, Switzerland could only pull one point back, losing 6-5.
In a high-scoring contest for the bronze medal, China went into an early 5-1 lead, before the experienced Swiss side levelled the scores at 6-6 after six ends. However China scored two points on the seventh end, and a further score of four in the eighth end resulted in a 12-6 lead for China, when Switzerland conceded the game.
A tense final saw Sweden edge into a 4-2 lead at the halfway stage. However tenacious play by Cheryl Bernard's Canadian team saw them slowly amassing points to lead 6-4 with one end to play. With her last two stones, Anette Norberg (SWE) managed to gain the two points required to take the game into an extra end. With the tension mounting, Bernard had to clear two stones with her final throw for victory, but she was only able to clear one, leaving the other Norberg stone in the house and enabling Sweden to win 7-6, so successfully defending their Olympic title.
Norberg's team had struggled in the years between Olympic Games, a fact she put down to "Divorces and babies. Two of each".
Although she threw only a couple of stones at the end of one of the pool games Canadian reserve Kristie Moore made a small piece of Olympic history in Vancouver. She was five and a half months into her pregnancy, the most advanced stage of any Olympic competitor.
Despite only winning three of their nine matches the Russian women also generated headlines in Vancouver. Nicknamed the "Moscow Ice Maidens" their glamorous image did much to erase the traditional view of curling and of Russian sportswomen in general which has lingered since the days of the Press sisters, Irina and Tamara.