After four heartbreakers, Anchorage's Jessica Schultz and her teammates finally experienced victory at the Winter Olympics.
The U.S. women's curling team beat Japan 8-6 in round-robin play at Sochi's Ice Cube Curling Center. The Americans are 1-4 with four games left to try to reach the playoffs.
"It was nice to get back to playing at the level we know we can play at, and to show what we can do when we are firing on all four cylinders," Schultz, 29, said in a press release from USA Curling.
The decisive moment came in the eighth end, when the Americans scored two points for a 7-4 lead. Sochi Report isn't an Xs and Os guy when it comes to curling, but according to USA Curling's Terry Kolesar "the U.S. ladies made a key draw to the side of the button to score two points."
The curlers, who have four matches left in round-robin play, will have to keep winning if they hope to advance. "We're not losing our fire or desire," four-time Olympian Debbie McCormick said. "We will just take it one game at a time, one end at a time, one rock at a time."
SHARE YOUR SPIRIT
If you're looking for a way to show your Olympic spirit, events Saturday in Anchorage and Girdwood may be for you.
In Anchorage, the APU nordic program will host a viewing party at Humpy's from 10 a.m.-noon for NBC's tape-delayed coverage of the 4x5-kilometer women's relay race. (The race happens live at 1 a.m. Alaska time Saturday morning.)
The Americans, led by APU's Kikkan Randall, could be in the mix for a medal.
In Girdwood, skiers and snowboarders from the Alyeska Ski Resort will participate in the inaugural National Club Day Parade, a coast-to-coast parade of snow-sport athletes involving 30 clubs around the country.
Scheduled to coincide with the Sochi Games, the parade will begin at 5 a.m. AST in Killington, Vt., and end at 2:40 p.m. AST in Girdwood. Every 20 minutes, a parade will go off at various sites.
Alyeska's parade will go from the top of Chair 6 to Tanaka and the Race Training Center. Members ranging from mighty mites to masters will participate.
WHO'S ON DECK?
Curling -- U.S. women vs. Denmark, 1 a.m. (Jessica Schultz)
Cross country -- Men's 15-K classic, 1 a.m. (Erik Bjornsen, Brian Gregg, Andrew Musgrave)
Biathlon -- Women's 15-K, 5 a.m. (Sara Studbaker, Lanny Barnes)
Alpine skiing -- women's super-G, 10 p.m. (Anne Berecz)
Cross country -- Women's 4x5-kilometer relay, 1 a.m. (Kikkan Randall, possibly Sadie Bjornsen)
Curling -- U.S. women vs Sweden, 6 a.m. (Jessica Schultz)
Curling -- U.S. women vs. Canada, 1 a.m. (Jessica Schultz)
Curling -- U.S. women vs. Korea, 8 p.m. (Jessica Schultz)
Cross country -- Men's relay 4x10-K relay, 1 a.m. (TBD)
A TRANQUIL MUSGRAVE
The Sochi Report is thrilled it put Great Britain skier Andrew Musgrave on Team Asterisk -- our lineup of Olympians with Alaska connections.
Musgrave, who learned to ski at age 5 after his family moved to Alaska, delivered one of the best lines of the Games after he failed to meet his expectations in Tuesday's sprint race. Musgrave made noise before Sochi by winning the sprint at Norway's national championships, but like Kikkan Randall, he was ousted in the quarterfinals of the Olympic race.
By making the quarterfinals, Musgrave made British history, but he was furious to get knocked out so early. He offered his analysis on Twitter:
"Sometimes you ski fast, sometimes you ski like a tranquilised badger."
The Sochi Games are the first Winter Olympics where every event is available to view on livestream.
Some other notable technological firsts, according to Topend Sports:
• The 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif., was the first time use a computer (courtesy of IBM).
• 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, were the first to be broadcast in color.
Written and compiled by Daily News sports editor Beth Bragg, with contributions from wire services and Nat Herz, who is in Sochi for fasterskier.com and the Daily News.
By BETH BRAGG