Now that we’re done with Curling 101, it’s time to take a look at some specifics for the 2014 Olympics. Below you’ll find an explanation of the tournament format, and some info on each team, as well as their gold medal odds which I found on an illicit offshore gambling site.
The format for both the men’s and women’s Olympic tournament is the same. It starts with a round-robin tournament, where each of the ten teams plays every other team once. Then, the top four teams are seeded into a 4-team playoff to determine the medalists. Tiebreaker games are played if the seeding cannot be determined based on record alone.
2014 Field (Men)
Canada – Odds: 4/7 – The Canadians are the only men’s team to medal at every Olympics since curling was made official in 1998. This year’s team is led by skip Brad Jacobs and is the heavy favorite to capture their third consecutive gold.
Sweden – Odds: 9/2 – Two different Swedish teams won silver at the 1924 Olympics. It’s confusing. Skip: Niklas Edin.
Great Britain – Odds: 11/2 – Scotish. Skip: David Murdoch.
Norway – Odds: 9/1 – Though largely known for their choice in pants, the Norwegian team has been together since 2008 and won a bronze at the 2010 Olympics. Skip: Thomas Ulsrud.
Switzerland – Odds: 12/1 – Skip: Sven Michel.
Denmark – Odds: 25/1 – Skip: Rasmus Stjerne.
China – Odds: 33/1 – Skip: Rui Liu.
USA – Odds: 40/1 – The 2010 Olympics were a disaster for the United States, as skip John Shuster was benched by his own team and they finished tied for last place. Shuster is back again with a new team and will represent the U.S. again this year.
Germany – Odds: 50/1 – Skip: John Jahr.
Russia – Odds: 80/1 – Russia qualified automatically by virtue of being the host country. They probably suck. Skip: Andrey Drozdov.
2014 Field (Women)
Canada – Odds: 7/5 – Skip Jennifer Jones leads the favorited Canadian team. They’ve medalled at every Olympics since curling became official in 1998, but haven’t won gold since Nagano.
Sweden – Odds: 2/1 – Gold medalists in 2010 and 2006. Skip: Margaretha Sigfridsson.
Great Britain – Odds: 5/2 – Skip: Eve Muirhead.
Switzerland – Odds: 16/1 – Skip: Mirjam Ott.
USA – Odds: 16/1 – Skip Erika Brown put this team together, which includes Debbie McCormick, who previously represented the U.S. with her own team. They finished last finish in 2010, so there’s nowhere to go but up.
China – Odds: 20/1 – Skip: Bingyu Wang.
Russia – Odds: 28/1 – Like their men’s counterpart, the Russian women’s team qualified automatically by virtue of being the host country, though they’re in better position to compete than the men. Skip: Anna Sidorova.
Denmark – Odds: 33/1 – Skip: Lene Nielsen.
Japan – Odds: 66/1 – Skip: Ayumi Ogasawara.
South Korea – Odds: 66/1 – Skip: Jisun Kim.