Curlers claim hard-earned his... | Australian Olympic Committee
 

Curlers claim hard-earned historic victory

Author imageAOC06 Feb 2022
Tahli and Dean celebrate

CURLING: In an Australian Olympic first Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt have recorded Australia's maiden curling win with a 9-6 triumph over Switzerland.

It was a wild match with constant momentum swings, but the Aussie pair dictated terms when it mattered to close the game on a 6-0 spurt.

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

The match nearly didn't go ahead, but much to the delight of Tahli and Dean they were given the green light to round out their Olympic campaign.

"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," Tahli said.

"It was just crazy, mayhem, getting the uniforms on," Dean said. 

"The excitement in the (hotel) room was unbelievable. It was so exciting to be able to get back out on the ice and play these last two games."

 

Key to the pair's success was the points they stole on Switzerland's hammer (an end where a team has the last stone to throw), as they grabbed four points with those opportunities.

Trailing 3-6 in the sixth round, Australia activated their powerplay and Tahli delivered a gem to finish the end.

The Swiss held a two-stone advantage with just Tahli's stone to come, and she caused a domino effect with Switzerland's scoring stones which cleared the way for a three-point advantage of Australia's own - a move that would have sent the Gill and Hewitt families into hysterics.

 

"We knew once we took the powerplay that we could push really hard for that three and stay right in the game, so making that shot it felt really good and we were finally able to get back in that game," Tahli said.

Switzerland took their powerplay in the seventh end and it finished in disaster for them, as Australia stole two points to regain the lead for good.

"No.1, to win in the Olympics is amazing, and No.2, under the circumstances, I think the resilience that we showed and just the pure passion coming out from us during that game - that's what we're all about," Dean said.

"I'm just so proud of Tahli being [able] to step up in that game, because I don't know how I would have been able to get through it myself."

Despite the interrupted preparation for the game, Dean's accuracy was a big reason the pair got off to a 3-0 lead after two ends.

Switzerland responded with six-straight points but they lost their rhythm and didn't recover.

Tahli and Dean will take to the ice one final time in Beijing for a match against Canada, beginning at 11:05pm AEDT on Channel 7 and 7plus.

The Canadian side has a familiar face for Australia in that of John Morris.

Morris, a 43-year-old who won bronze in the mixed doubles at PyeongChang 2018, will compete as an athlete and has been an influential coach for Tahli and Dean in their efforts to qualify for an Olympic debut.

Jeff Dickinson-Fox

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