Olympic round up: Curlers make winning start

Ebnöther shouts instructions to her team-mates Keystone

Switzerland have got off to winning start in both the men's and the women's Olympic curling tournaments.

This content was published on February 12, 2002 - 13:30

The Swiss women's curling team set the stage with a 9-8 victory over Denmark.

Leading the Danes 8-6 after eight ends and holding last stone advantage, the Swiss team skippered by Luzia Ebnöther faced an unexpectedly tough battle to wrap up Monday's win.

After single stone "steals" by Denmark in the ninth and tenth ends, the two teams had to contest an extra end. Only then did Switzerland secure the decisive point with Ebnöther skilfully sliding her final stone past a tricky Danish guard.

The Swiss men's curling team also got their Salt Lake City campaign off to a good start, with a 5-4 victory over Norway.

It was a tense finish for the Swiss team, skippered by Andreas Schaller. Leading at the outset of the eighth end 4-2, the Swiss suffered two single stone "steals" from Norway. Schaller, nonetheless, kept his cool, clinching a victory for the team with a precise last stone slide.

Höhener 13th in luge

Making their way across the ice at a slightly quicker speed on Monday were Swiss luge riders Stefan Höhener and Reto Gilly, although neither man was fast enough to get anywhere near the podium.

Nineteenth overall following Sunday's opening runs, Höhener showed a marked improvement on Monday. Recording the seventh quickest time in both the day's runs, the 21-year-old builder from Zurich was able to lift himself to 13th in the final standings.

Gilly, a 30-year-old postman who is soon set to retire from the sport, also improved on his opening day's performance, climbing from 33rd place to 24th.

Hackl denied

All eyes though were on the battle for gold, with Georg Hackl of Germany just failing in his bid to become the first Winter Olympian to win four straight golds in the same event. Finishing as runner-up to Italy's Armin Zöggeler, Hackl nevertheless made history as the first winter athlete to win a medal at five consecutive Games.

Even a single medal was well beyond the reach of the Swiss biathletes on Monday. Won by Norway's Ole Einar Björndalen, the men's 20 km race saw Switzerland's Roland Zwahlen, Jean-Marc Chabloz and Matthias Simmen finish in 58th, 61st and 78th place respectively.

swissinfo with agencies

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