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PARALYMPICS

Swedish Paralympic curler fails drug test

Glenn Ikonen, a member of Sweden's Paralympic curling team, has been issued with a two-year suspension for failing a drugs test as his teammates secure their place in the finals in Vancouver.

Swedish Paralympic curler fails drug test

Sweden’s wheelchair curling team won 6-5 against Italy in a tie-breaker Paralympics match on Friday, but the victory was bittersweet.

Hours before the match Glenn Ikonen was told an earlier random drug test had detected a banned beta blocker, generally used to control high blood pressure.

Ikonen told reporters his doctor had prescribed the medication in Sweden and he was unaware it was banned. He has the right to appeal his two-year suspension by the International Paralympic Committee.

However, he will be forced to sit out Saturday’s final matches.

“I am shocked. I couldn’t imagine this. I am an old man. I’m 54 years old. I would never take anything I can’t take,” Ikonen said in a statement released by worldcurling.org.

“I’m disappointed in my doctor at home. I told him I didn’t want anything (banned substance) I can’t take.”

Swedish curling team bosses said they did not believe Ikonen would have gained any advantage from taking the banned beta blocker, later named as Metoprolol.

“I don’t see any advantage of it in wheelchair curling,” said team manager Thomas Wilhelm.

“He did not try hide it. He had not checked to see if it was a banned substance,” added Hans Safstrom, Sweden’s Chef de Mission.

Sweden’s win Friday means it will play first-place Canada early Saturday in the semi-finals, while the United States competes with Korea.

The winners of those two matches will go on to curl for the gold and silver medals later Saturday, while the losing teams will vie for the bronze medal.

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WINTER OLYMPICS

USA curlers celebrate after beating Sweden in Olympic final, despite medal mishap

America's men's curlers produced a dramatic win over Sweden to win their first Olympic gold medal and delight a growing army of fans back home -- and then received the wrong medals.

USA curlers celebrate after beating Sweden in Olympic final, despite medal mishap
Matt Hamilton of the United States and Sweden's Oskar Eriksson during the men's curling final at Gangneung Curling Centre. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Skip John Shuster and his team wore puzzled looks as they realised they had been given women's medals instead of men's after their 10-7 victory on Saturday.

But Shuster brushed off the mix-up as the team celebrated their famous and unexpected victory, which was sealed by a rare five-pointer with two ends to go.

“It's no big deal,” beamed Shuster, who was competing at his fourth Olympics and was part of the USA team that took bronze in Turin in 2006.

“From the first time we stepped onto the ice to the last rock we threw I'll never stop thinking what these guys have done for me,” he added, smiling at his team-mates.

Sweden, whose skip Niklas Edin made a couple of crucial errors, reduced the gap to three points going into the last end but the Swedes finally conceded with one stone left.

Shuster delivered a hammer (last throw) blow that lifted the Americans five points clear 10-5.

“It feels almost unbelievable, but we came out here with great intensity and just had to believe we could do it, and make our shots,” said America's Matt 'Ham' Hamilton.

Carl XVI Gustaf, the Swedish monarch, was amongst the amongst the 3,000 crowd for the final in Gangneung, as was Ivanka Trump, daughter of US president Donald Trump.

The teams were led out for the curling climax by a kilted Korean playing 'Scotland The Brave' on bagpipes, in a nod to the sport's origins in medieval Scotland.

The Swedes were 2-0 up by the second end, but the US team levelled immediately, and went 3-2 up in the fourth end with their yellow stone deemed an infinitesimal amount closer to the tee than Sweden's red.

The irked Swedes make for dangerous foes and they wasted no time bouncing back, skip Edin throwing a perfect hammer to put the Scandinavians back in front at 4-3.

But to enthusiastic support from supporters in stars and stripes, Shuster had his men back in front at 5-4 after a mistake by his opposite number.

Shuster then pulled off his master throw to secure the US a stunning five-pointer to go 10-5 up and earn the US a famous success.

READ ALSO: Sweden's Myhrer wins shock gold in Olympic men's slalom