Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Follow All The Winter Olympics Action Feb. 6-24 on NBC

Unbeaten Canada Reaches Olympic Curling Semifinals

By STEVE DOUGLAS
|  Saturday, Feb 15, 2014  |  Updated 11:59 AM PDT
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    The Canadian women have taken the shortest route possible to the Olympic curling semifinals.

    Seven games. Seven wins.

    Jennifer Jones' rink beat Japan and Russia on Saturday to cruise through to the playoffs undefeated. To add even more gloss, they are guaranteed to be the No. 1 seed for finishing at the top of the standings in the round robin, even with two games to spare.

    "We know we'll have a chance to be on that podium," Jones said. "I'm getting goose bumps just talking about."

    Jones played down her choice to wear eye makeup with a gold hue this week, but the color seems so apt.

    She's had the golden touch with the rocks, playing at 87 percent accuracy and finishing off the chances created by teammates Kaitlyn Lawes, Dawn McEwen and long-time playing partner Jill Officer.

    Since curling at the Olympics expanded to 10 teams in 2002, no women's rink has gone through a round-robin stage unbeaten. Jones' team is on course for just that and with games remaining against two of the bottom three rinks - the United States and South Korea - the Canadians might never have a better chance.

    "It's more than you could ever hope for," said the 39-year-old Jones, a lawyer competing in her first Olympics despite being Canada's top female curler since 2005. "I feel like we've come to the Olympics and we've performed really well on the world's biggest stage. I'm really proud of that."

    Jones waved to the cameras and high-fived her buddies on the ice after Russia conceded the final end for a 5-3 win in the evening session. The Canadians had rallied to beat Japan 8-6 in the morning.

    Five teams look to be vying for the three spots with Canada in the playoffs.

    Sweden, the two-time defending champion, is favored to take one of them after scoring two points in the final end on a measurement to beat the United States 7-6. It just about sums up a miserable week on the ice for the Americans, who are in last place with a 1-6 record.

    "We just can't catch a break," U.S. player Ann Swisshelm said.

    The Americans failed to be inspired by the appearance at the Ice Cube of one of the team's biggest celebrity fans, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who showed up for the final five ends. Davis has been into curling since 2009 and is USA Curling's honorary captain for the Sochi Games.

    Britain, the world champion, and China both lost in other games in the evening session to jeopardize their hopes of advancing.

    Switzerland defeated Britain 8-6 to leave both teams at 4-3 along with China, which surprisingly lost 9-6 to Denmark.

    British skip Eve Muirhead said some of her shots seemed to veer off course because of debris falling off the overhead TV camera.

    "There was word that it was the camera that flies back and forward, stuff (was) coming off that and it is not ideal when you do have pick-ups," Muirhead said. "It is out of our control, but it kind of wrecks the game a little bit."

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