Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Ice Cube Curling Center, Adler
Date Started: February 10, 2014
Date Finished: February 20, 2014
Format: Round-robin pool, followed by single-elimination medal round.
As with the men’s tournament, Sweden was considered to be the most serious threat in women’s curling, having won the last two editions of the Olympic Games, as well as the 2011 World Championships and, having been world runners-up in 2012 and 2013, they were ranked number one in the world. Switzerland and Great Britain, the 2012 and 2013 world champions respectively, were ranked second and third. Sweden’s skip was Margaretha Sigfridsson, four-time world runner-up (2002, 2009, 2012, 2013), while Switzerland sent Mirjam Ott, to her fourth Olympics. Ott was the 2012 World Champion, as well as the 2002 and 2006 Olympic runner-up. Great Britain was headed by Scotland’s Eve Muirhead, the reigning world champion and 2010 runner-up. She too was a veteran of the 2010 Winter Olympics, but had finished seventh among ten nations. Never to be underestimated was Canada who, despite being ranked fourth and not having won Olympic gold since the sport’s debut in 1998, was represented by Jennifer Jones, a household name in the country. Jones was not a rookie on the international scene – she was the 2008 World Champion – but she was much better known for her success at the Canadian national championships\: four-times champion (2005, 2008-2010), thrice runner-up (2006, 2011, 2013), and twice bronze-medalist (2007 and 2012). Almost as well-known nationally was Jill Officer, who had been Jones’ second for over a decade and shared in all of her friend’s successes. Another notable skip was Kim Ji-sun, who headed South Korea’s first delegation to Olympic curling.
If the world had not heard of the Canadian team prior to the 2014 Olympics, then it certainly knew their names after\: Canada’s Jones became the first female skip to lead her rink through Olympic round robin play undefeated, a suitable follow-up to Kevin Martin’s similar achievement for the Canadian men in 2010. Sigfridsson was not far behind, however, finishing 7-2, while Ott and Muirhead ended with a record of 5-4 each, sufficient to take them to the medal round. Notable in this portion of the tournament was the Great Britain-United States match, where Muirhead set an Olympic record by scoring seven points in a single end against Erika Brown’s rink.
Jones, having revealed herself as a significant threat, defeated Murihead in the semifinals, while Sigfridsson vanquished Ott. The bronze medal game was close throughout, with Ott able to force Muirhead into a tenth end, but Great Britain emerged victorious. This made them the youngest rink to win an Olympic medal, beating China’s bronze medal-winning team by nearly two years. In the final, Canada and Sweden were neck and neck at the end of the fifth end, when Jones decided to blank the sixth and seventh ends to obtain last rock in the eighth. There she scored only one point, bringing Canada into the ninth with a score of 4-3, but her rink’s excellent shooting earned them two points that clinched their victory. Jones’ rink joined Martin’s as undefeated in Olympic tournament play, the first woman to achieve this feat. The achievements of Canada’s women would only be boosted later in the day, when their hockey team took gold and made the nation Olympic champions in both of its national winter sports.