Curlers Persinger, Plys finish Olympic competition with losses to Switzerland, Great Britain

Alaska curler Vicky Persinger and teammate Chris Plys ended their mixed doubles curling at the Beijing Olympics without a medal, as a hard-fought loss against Switzerland eliminated the duo’s last chance at making the top four and moving on to the semifinals. In a 6-5 game that came down to Switzerland’s last shot, the U.S. curlers clawed back from an early deficit but ran out of ends to get ahead of the Swiss pair. Their final match of the Olympics, against Great Britain, was hard-fought to the end, but also resulted in a U.S. loss.

In the Switzerland game, trouble started early for Persinger and Plys, as a crowded house in the first end gave Switzerland a shot for three points on their final throw. Undeterred, the U.S. pair scored a point in the second end and stole another in the third before forcing Switzerland to take a single point in the fourth end. At the game’s midway point, Team USA was down 4-2 but had regained the “hammer,” or last-rock advantage.

In the fifth end, the U.S. team could only manage one point, but Persinger and Plys made their shots in the sixth to force the Swiss side of Jenny Perret and Martin Rios to take a single point as well. In the seventh end, a brilliant double takeout from Plys, followed by a dead-on draw from Persinger, gave the U.S. two points and tied the game 5-5, but returned the hammer to Switzerland for the eighth and final end.

That hammer proved to be all the advantage the Swiss needed, as they played the end clean, knocking out U.S. rocks and denying them cover to hide stones behind. Persinger made her final draw well, putting the U.S. in position to score, but Perret followed with a perfect draw of her own to the button at the center of the rings, and Switzerland prevailed 6-5.

The U.S. curlers’ game against Great Britain, like the Switzerland match, started off with a tough end for Persinger and Plys, as Team GB stole three points in a messy first end. The Americans spent the rest of the game playing catch-up, and although they came close and fought to the end, Britons Jennifer Dodd and Bruce Mouat prevailed by a final score of 8-4.

Team USA wasn’t able to gain much ground after surrendering three in the first. Persinger and Plys scored a single point in the second, and kept the Britons to a single point on their hammer in the third. But Dodd and Mouat stole another point in the fourth end, increasing their advantage to 5-1 at the halfway point.


The Americans got themselves back in the game in the fifth and sixth ends, scoring two and stealing one to bring themselves within a single point of evening the score. When they managed to keep Britain from scoring more than a single point on their hammer in the seventh, it looked as though the U.S. team might complete the comeback by scoring multiple points in the final frame. But in the eighth end, Team GB made several precision shots to leave several rocks difficult to remove behind cover, and a multiple-stone raise-takeout by Persinger didn’t move the British rocks far enough to keep them from scoring. When the dust settled, the British team scored two and won the game 8-4.

With a record of 3-6 in the round-robin, the U.S. mixed doubles squad finished in eighth place and didn’t move on to the semifinals and medal round. But the team and its fans are holding their heads high. “It’s my first Olympics and I hope that someday I get the chance to come back,” Persinger said in a statement posted by USA Curling. “I hope to bring a little more confidence and less nerves if I get the chance to come back again someday.”