Gangneug, South Korea - In a historic Olympic first, United States took men's gold when they beat Sweden by 10-7 in Saturday afternoon's Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 curling final at the Gangneung Curling Centre.
This was a fifth successive battling win in this competition for the Americans - skipped by John Shuster, with third Tyler George, second Matt Hamilton, lead John Landsteiner with support from alternate Joe Polo and coach Phill Drobnick. While Sweden - skipped by Niklas Edin, with third Oskar Eriksson, second Rasmus Wranaa, lead Christoffer Sundgren and support from alternate Henrik Leek and coach Fredrik Lindberg - had the consolation of taking their first Olympic silver of the modern era. Earlier, on Friday, Switzerland had taken bronze medals.
For United States skip John Shuster, this gold now goes alongside the bronze medal he won in Turin in 2006, while Sweden's skip Niklas Edin now adds silver to the bronze he won in Sochi in 2014. "I think we saw that curling really has a chance for taking off in our country and we'd like nothing more than to help with that," said Shuster.
Because they finished top of the ranking after the round-robin, Sweden started the final with last stone advantage in the first end.
They used that advantage to blank the first end and then opened the scoring with two points in the second end when their skip Niklas Edin played a double take-out on two American stones. Not to be outdone, United States skip John Shuster responded with his own double take-out for two points in the third end to level the score.
United States then took the lead in the fourth end after an umpire's measure determined that their yellow stone was just closer to the button than a Swedish stone giving them a steal of one point. In the fifth end, Sweden's Edin was successful with a difficult draw around some front guards to score two points and take a 4-3 lead into the break.
United States took the lead again, at 5-4, in the sixth end when Shuster scored two points with a relatively straightforward draw into the house.
After a complete miss with his first stone of the seventh end, Sweden's Edin made amends through a triple promote shot with his second stone of the end, to score one point and level the game at 5-5.
In the eighth end, Edin rolled his second stone into shot position but not enough to hide it behind guards, and United States' Shuster then removed it and another Swedish stone to score five points for a 10-5 lead.
"We could feel it building. The margin for error got incredibly small," said Shuster following the game. "I was happy to get the chance to make that last shot and put an exclamation mark on it. For me, it was just focus. I can't tell you how un-nervous I was sitting in the hack to throw it. These guys around me - their belief and their hard work gave me the confidence just to sit in the hack and let it go."
Sweden managed to score two points in the ninth end to reduce the American lead to 10-7, but ran out of stones in the tenth end, giving curling a new team of men's Olympic champions.
For flash quotes from the men's gold medal final visit, http://www.wcf.co/2sOs0yh
Men gold medal final result: Sweden 7-10 United States.
Final men's standings:
G - United States
S - Sweden
B - Switzerland