March 15, 2014, Sochi, Russia (ISN) – Canada won an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal in wheelchair curling today at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, beating Russia 8-3 in the final this afternoon after beating China 5-4 in the semi-finals in the morning.
Today’s win in front of an enthusiastic and raucous home town crowd adds to Canada’s string of success in international curling competition as gold medalist in both men’s and women’s Olympic curling and now the champions of the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in wheelchair curling. Canada also won gold in wheelchair curling at the 2006 and 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
It was a long day for the team since in order to get to the gold medal match they needed to defeat the strong up and coming team from China. The Chinese team is comprised of some of the youngest players in the tournament and in fact only one member of the team is over the age of 30.
“They’re real sportsmen on the ice,” said Canadian skip Jim Armstrong. “They’re young and they’re going to have a long, long time in the sport. Their country should be very proud.”
In the early game against China, Armstrong converted a draw for two with his final stone of the seventh to break a 3-3 tie and give Canada the lead for good. China had a chance to send the game to extra ends, but the Chinese skip was heavy with his final-stone draw, leaving them a point short and Canada won 5-4.
Canada played their best game of the tournament in the final when it was really needed against the Russians. The previous day’s issues with the ice had been resolved and Canada jumped into the driver’s seat and posted some the week’s most impressive draw percentages in the 80s.
Canada closed the deal in the sixth end when Armstrong played a very precise takeout on the Russian shot stone and stayed in the four foot. The Russian skip had to hit the stone on the nose to score one but was too slow, giving Canada a steal of three. In the eighth end, the Russian squad ran out of rocks to make a comeback and handshakes were exchanged.
Third Ina Forrest described what it was like to be in the groove for this game.
“It feels fantastic,” Forrest said. “The game felt so smooth and comfortable.”
The team heads home early Monday morning from Sochi and will land in Canada (Toronto Pearson Airport) later that same day in the afternoon.