MOSCOW, March 15 (R-Sport) – Canada retained its wheelchair curling title at the Sochi Paralympics on Saturday, easing past host nation Russia 8-3 in the gold medal game.
Canada has never failed to win gold since curling debuted at the Paralympics in 2006, and weathered an early threat from first-time competitor Russia to keep the gold medal at a packed Ice Cube Curling Center.
Defeat ends Russian hopes of winning a gold medal in all five sports on the program at the country’s first home Paralympics.
The Russians, skipped by Andrei Smirnov, started strongly, taking two points off the first end. After that, however, it was all about the Canadians as their 63-year-old skip Jim Armstrong led his team to eight points from the next five ends, including two steals when the Russians had last-stone advantage.
By the eighth end, Smirnov’s team were left needing five points to take the game to an extra end, and conceded the game when that became impossible.
Wheelchair curling uses broadly the same rules as able-bodied curling, although there is no sweeping and mixed-gender teams are mandatory.