The Swiss women's curling team have had to settle for Olympic silver after losing narrowly to Britain in a tense final match.This content was published on February 22, 2002 - 01:19
Thursday's showdown began in wary fashion with neither team able to register a point in the opening three ends. Luzia Ebnöther's Swiss side then managed to steal ahead with a single in the fourth but their lead was short-lived.
The British, skippered by Rhona Martin, used last stone advantage to grab two points in the very next end before stealing a single off the Swiss in the seventh.
Trailing 3-1 with just three ends remaining, Ebnöther's side then showed great resolve to claw their way back into contention. After pulling the score back to 3-2 in the eighth, the Swiss women stole a dramatic single in the ninth to level at 3-3.
That single point returned last stone advantage to the British, though, and a well-placed final takeout by skip Rhona Martin was enough to secure her country's first Winter gold in 18 years while simultaneously denying the Swiss their third gold of the current Games.
Drying away the tears
Ebnöther and her team-mates were thus awarded the silver medal with tears of sorrow rather than joy in their eyes. But after a few hours, and with the medal ceremony completed, the Swiss skip was smiling once more.
"It's a great feeling right now to have the silver," Ebnöther told swissinfo. "It was certainly difficult at first. We were just so close to winning the gold and we weren't playing badly. But it's always tough when someone has to lose and we sure feel great now."
Ebnöther said her team were only just starting to realise how well they have performed in Salt Lake. It would probably only really sink in in a few days' time, she added - once the women are all back at work.
With the Swiss team comprising a hairdresser, a communications manager, a fund administrator, an office worker, and a draftswoman, Ebnöther knows there won't be too much to enjoy what's left of the Olympics.
"We've been able to enjoy some of it already," she said. "We've seen the bobsleigh, a hockey game and some figure skating and hope to see some more before we go. I know there'll be a big party at my work when I get back, but I've got a good boss so I can always talk to him if I need a little more time off."
by Mark Ledsom
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