Winter Olympics: Australia finally record wins in curling after chaotic Sunday

By Sports Desk February 06, 2022 962

Sunday was quite a day for the Australia curling team, from being told to leave China in the morning to recording their first victories at the Winter Olympics.

Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt became the first Australians to win a curling match at the Olympics when they beat Switzerland, but that is only part of the story.

Having lost their first seven matches in the mixed team event at Beijing 2022, Gill and Hewitt were told they had to leave China on Sunday morning after the former returned a positive COVID-19 test.

However, with bags packed and ready to head to the airport, the duo were invited back after the Chinese Public Health System determined the CT values in Gill's PCR tests fell into an acceptable range, which left them with 15 minutes to get a taxi to the National Aquatics Centre for their match with Switzerland.

Remarkably, with Gill only playing with one glove having lost the other in the rush, Australia went on to beat the Swiss 9-6, before also getting the better of Canada 10-8 in their final clash.

"It has literally been the craziest, craziest 24 hours. My bags are still packed, I only just had time to pull out my uniforms," Gill said. "I was ruffling through my bags and ripping clothes out left, right and centre. I played with only one glove on - and it was the wrong one.

"It was really devastating [to be asked to leave China] given that I wasn't infectious, but after review I'm so incredibly grateful to the medical team to get me out on the ice and I'm able to compete and finish off our campaign on a really positive note.

"We put our hearts and souls into that [Switzerland] game, to be able to come back with the win was really awesome."

Prior to Sunday's remarkable events, Australia had lost to the United States, China, Czech Republic, Sweden, Great Britain, Norway and Italy, losing by a combined aggregate of 53-33.

Against Switzerland they were 6-3 down with three ends remaining, only to score three, two and one stones to nil to take the match 9-6.

An 8-8 tie saw their match against Canada go to an extra end, which they clinched two stones to nil.

They will still finish bottom of the standings despite their two victories, but Hewitt did not seem to mind as he appeared just as amazed by the circumstances, saying: "We had a couple of phone calls that maybe there could be a chance.

"I was like, 'Aw, don't do this to us, please'. Then we got the official call and we were like, 'Are you serious?' We had 15 minutes to get in the taxi.

"It's one of those things where you don't realise what you've got until it's gone. Once we heard that we could actually play again, it made it extra special for us.

"We were like, 'Let’s embrace the Olympics, embrace what we have and be grateful for it'. Because it's something that can be taken away from you in a moment's notice. We were just so stoked and we can't wait for the next game as well."

"It's incredible. You walk out there onto the ice and nearly everyone comes up to you and says, 'We’re so happy that you're out here'. It just shows the camaraderie between curlers here."

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Last modified on Sunday, 06 February 2022 14:40
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