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Gazette Premium Content Britain breaks Olympic record against US on way to 1st curling win

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer Updated: February 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm

SOCHI, Russia — Britain scored an Olympic-record seven points in one end on the way to a 12-3 win over the United States on Tuesday, earning the world champions a first victory in the women's curling tournament.

British skip Eve Muirhead broke the previous record of six points — set by Swedish and Canadian men's teams — in the fourth end of the game with a routine takeout shot after a series of errors by the Americans.

"I hadn't actually sat there and counted them up until I threw my last shot," said U.S. skip Erika Brown, who left an open shot for Muirhead. "I thought, 'Oh dear.'

More on curling: Sticks and Stones
 
"Obviously it's not the record I hoped to be a part of."

If Britain produced the standout team display of Day 2, there was no doubt who delivered the top individual performance.

Canada skip Jennifer Jones made all 16 of her shots with 100 percent accuracy — a very rare occurrence in curling — to help her team blow away defending champion Sweden 9-3 in just eight ends in the morning session.

"We played a good game," Sweden skip Margaretha Sigfridsson said, "but that is not enough when you play a team that is playing perfect."

Switzerland (3-0), the European champion, tops the standings after following up a 7-6 win over Denmark in the morning by beating Korea 8-6 in the evening. Canada (2-0) is the other unbeaten team.

Sweden and Britain — the other two likely gold-medal contenders — both have a 1-1 record.

What was already a miserable start to the competition by the Americans — both men and women — turned into humiliation when Brown's rink left an easy shot for the first "seven-ender" in Olympic curling's short history.

Muirhead made no mistake with an easy nose-hit on a stone that Brown had left open after trying to rectify a number of misses by her teammates earlier in the end. It left seven British rocks in the points-scoring target area.

"I'm surprised actually a little bit that it is a record," Muirhead said. "But hey-ho — we can say we are record holders."

The maximum score a team can achieve in one end in curling is eight points.

The defeat left U.S. 0-3, having lost 9-6 to Russia in the morning session, and the American men and women combined 0-5. Britain bounced back from an opening-day loss to Sweden.

Canada's women curlers have won a medal at every Olympics since the sport returned to the program in 1998. Their only gold came in '98, but there is another in the offing if Jones keeps up her brilliant form.

Whether it was a slow draw into the target or a shot to take out her opponent's rocks, Jones got everything just right against Sweden. Her display earned her rave reviews from teammates, rivals and fans across social media.

"She was seeing everything and had that fire in her eyes, going after it all," Canadian player Kaitlyn Lawes said. "She was on fire, was lighting it up out there."

On Monday, Jones' team required just seven of the allotted 10 ends to crush China 9-2.

The Canadians' early finish in the morning allowed Jones and her teammates extra time to head up to the mountains, where they support their compatriots in the slopestyle events in the Sochi sunshine.

Russia's unbeaten start was ended by a 7-5 loss to China in the evening, leaving the host nation 2-1. Japan (1-1) beat Denmark 8-3 in the other late game.

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