Two 'firsts' in opening mixed doubles session
Korea incur first-ever time penalty and Swedes win one-stone shootout
The opening mixed doubles session on day one at the Curling World Cup saw two significant moments from which the United States and Sweden were the beneficiaries.
The first ever two-point penalty for running out of time was awarded against Korea's Chiwon Choi on the seventh stone of the sixth end against US duo Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin.
New rules introduced for the Curling World Cup have seen thinking time allocated per end. In mixed doubles that gives athletes two minutes 50 seconds from ends one to four, then three minutes in the latter four ends.
But Choi fell foul of the new rules, with Korea sitting one in the seventh, but already 8-1 down at that stage. The resulting two points awarded to the United States handed them a 10-1 victory.
The session's other memorable moment saw a one-stone shootout between Sweden and Russia after their match finished 6-6. It was Swede Therese Vestman, by no more than a couple of inches, whose stone finished nearest the button to take an opening win.
Vestman's partner Robin Ahlberg was jubilant afterwards. "The shootout is a really cool idea. It’s super. I’m in heaven!" he beamed. "I have been in shootouts a couple of times but not that often, it’s more usual to play an extra end."
Elsewhere, there was a straight-forward win for last year's World Mixed Doubles champions Martin Rios and Jenny Perret of Switzerland. Up 4-0 after the first end, and 8-0 up after the third, they finished up 12-1 winners over inexperienced Chinese duo Jiaxin Yu and Xiangkun Wang.
Rios commented: "We started pretty good in the first end, going 4-0 up, when they made a little mistake. They then had to take risks which made it a comfortable position for us.
"The stadium here is so impressive, it’s unbelievable. If we’re playing the Curling World Cup here, where are we going to play the Olympics - on the moon?! I would certainly like this as a curling arena in my home town!"
Canada were the other opening victors, with Kirk Muyers and Laura Walker wrapping up a 9-5 win over the Norway pair of Kristin Skaslien and Sander Roelvaag. Muyers commented afterwards: "We said to each other beforehand, be happy with being good, not great, and that worked for us."