Final stone seals Swedish curling gold

Sweden added the Olympic women's curling crown to the 2005 world and European titles by defeating Switzerland 7-6 in a knife-edge final in Pinerolo on Thursday.

It took a dramatic extra end wonder shot from Swedish skip Anette Norberg at the death to clinch victory taking out two Swiss stones to seal victory.

The Swedish rink, who have dominated the women’s game since the last Olympics in Salt Lake City, jumped for joy to celebrate their country’s first curling gold for men or women.

Skipped by Norberg, the Swedish rink took a two-point lead on the second end but the Swiss inspired by skip Mirjam Ott levelled at the next.

The Swedes, who had defeated Switzerland 9-7 in the round-robin section, then edged out into a 5-2 lead only for another two-point swing in favour of the underdogs to reduce the margin to one.

Sweden went 6-4 up at the ninth, but Ott sent the final into a nerve-jangling extra end when her last stone on the 10th took out two Swedish counters.

Switzerland looked in control of the decider until Norberg’s steely determination turned the tables with the last stone of what was an emotional final.

Canada, champions in 1998, brought the curtain down on their calamitous campaign by beating Norway 11-5 to take the bronze medal. The third-place play-off was virtually decided as early as the second end when Canada built up a 5-0 lead which quickly became 9-2 by the fifth.

Canada, one of the favourites for the gold, had endured a miserable Games typified when lead Christine Keshen missed the start of the preliminary round match with Norway because she overslept.

Amy Nixon then went down with a bout of food poisoning. To cap it all, her broom broke just before the start of the match on Thursday.

But she insisted she had no fear about the reaction back home, where around a million people play curling, to the team’s failure to take gold.

“We would prefer if it had been a gold medal, but it’s not a problem for us,” said Nixon.

“I don’t feel any pressure. If public opinion is good I feel better but I don’t worry about this.”