[PyeongChang 2018] Korea's 'garlic girls' claim Olympic silver in curling

By Yonhap
  • Published : Feb 25, 2018 - 11:19
  • Updated : Feb 25, 2018 - 13:35

South Korea captured the silver medal in women's curling on the final day of the PyeongChang Winter Games on Sunday, its first ever Olympic medal in the sport.


South Korea's women's curling team clinches Olympic silver on Feb. 25. The team is also known as "Team Kim" and "Garlic Girls" for all four players' last names being Kim, and their hometown Uiseong County's famous agricultural produce of garlic. (Yonhap)

Led by skip Kim Eun-jung, the South Korean women's team saw its improbable Cinderella run end with an 8-3 loss to Sweden in the gold medal match at Gangneung Curling Centre in Gangneung.

South Korea entered the Olympics ranked eighth in the world and defeated every other team inside the top 10 during round robin and knockout plays here. "Team Kim" won its last seven round robin matches to take the top seed spot and to cruise into the semifinals, where it defeated Japan 8-7.

Kim Eun-jung, leader of the South Korean women's curling team (Yonhap)

But the winning streak came to a halt in the final, when world No. 5 Sweden avenged a 7-6 loss to South Korea from the round robin session.

Kim Eun-jung said afterward she was proud of her teammates for overcoming much adversity in the run-up to the Olympics, and also gave credit to Sweden.

"This is our country's first medal in curling, and it's an honor to have the medal," Kim said. "Sweden played a perfect match. They deserved to be at the top of the podium."

South Korean head coach Kim Min-jung said writing the country's curling history also represents a new opportunity for her team.

"Even though we didn't get to the very top this time, we've given ourselves a chance to take another shot," she said. "We'll never forget where we came from and we'll keep the mindset of a challenger."

South Korea got its first point in the first end, thanks to an early Sweden miss on a takeout attempt. But Sweden responded with two points in the third end to take its first lead.

Sweden added another point in the fourth end for a 3-1 lead and opened up a 4-1 lead after the fifth end when South Korea failed to execute a double takeout with its last stone.

Players show tears after the final game against Sweden(Yonhap)
Players show tears after the final game against Sweden(Yonhap)

South Korea got a point back thanks to a takeout with its final stone of the sixth end. But with another impressive takeout to close out the seventh end, Sweden picked up three more points to lead 7-2 and blow the match wide open.

South Korea managed another point in the eighth end and cut it to 7-3. But Sweden got one back right away in the ninth end for an 8-3 lead, and South Korea conceded the match.

After one small mishap early, Sweden outplayed South Korea all day, and despite the backing of its partisan fans, the home side had no answer against a team it had defeated less than a week earlier.

All four members of the team -- Kim Eun-jung, lead Kim Yeong-mi, second Kim Seon-yeong and third Kim Kyeong-ae -- shed tears as cheers rained down on them from a nearly packed house. (Yonhap)

Kim Seon-yeong (left) and Kim Yeong-mi (Yonhap)
Kim Kyeong-ae, sisters with Kim Yeong-mi (Yonhap)
The four Kims, nicknamed the "Garlic Girls," due to the main produce of their hometown of Uiseong. (Yonhap)
Team Sweden takes gold in women`s curling (Yonhap)
South Korea`s "Team Kim," comprising of Kim Eun-jung, Kim Kyeong-ae, Kim Yeong-mi and Kim Seon-yeong (Yonhap)

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