Beijing Olympics: GB women win curling gold

While the excitement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo was still fresh in our minds, the Winter Olympics were held in Beijing. In countries like Japan and the USA, where TV programme are very popular, the Olympics is a big event. Not many people watch the games in the UK, but in Japan, all the TV stations are showing the popular events and many people are cheering on the athletes through the screens in Pandemic.

There are many Winter Olympics events, but have you ever heard of curling, the brainy sport often referred to as “chess on ice”? At this year’s Beijing Olympics, Japan and Great Britain played a final match on the last day of the Games, with Great Britain winning the gold medal.

It was the last day of the Olympics, and Japan’s clash in the women’s curling final was no small news in the UK. At the PyeongChang Olympics, Great Britain had lost to Japan in the third-place play-off. So, it was no surprise that it was such a big news that the British team won the gold medal with a convincing 10-3 victory over their opponents.

Curling is not as well known in the UK as it should be. Unlike football or cricket, it only gets significant exposure during the Winter Olympics, and most British probably only watch it once every four years, or even less than once every four years. Some of them don’t even see it as a sport, like darts or snooker.

However, with the men’s team well on their way to the final of this year’s tournament, the profile of curling has grown in the UK since the latter stages of the first round. The women’s team received a message of support from the British Royal Family wishing them good luck in the final (the final started at 1am, so the Queen probably didn’t get to see the early morning showdown ……).

The game lived up to domestic expectations. In the seventh end, British skip Eve Muirhead played an exquisite shot to bring up four points. This was the decisive moment of the match. It was at this point that the Japanese team realised that a comeback would be difficult.

I was watching the finals, and what I made me surprised was the way in which the girls, who must have been devastated by the defeat, praised their opponents after the game. The BBC commentator said: “The Japanese players were smiling, talking and respecting their opponents at all times.”

In this Olympics, there were a lot of athletes who couldn’t enjoy themselves because of the burden they had to carry, such as figure skater Kamila Waliyeva (ROC), who couldn’t continue competing because of the doping scandal that took a toll on her mind. That’s why I think it was so refreshing to see the Japanese curling team playing with such gusto.

Before this Olympics, I was not that knowledgeable about curling, but I think I understand why it is called “chess on ice”. Curling is a sport that uses the head, the heart and the body, and because of the long-playing time, the results really depend on how the players feel at each moment.

Kudos to England getting their revenge. And kudos to the Japanese players for behaving so nobly right to the very end.











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