SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Canada's curlers gathered in a circle, hoisted their brooms into the air and jumped for joy. Sweden's players linked arms in a huddle and squeezed tight as their tears flowed.
After surviving tense semifinal games that sent emotions soaring at the Ice Cube Curling Center in Sochi, Canada and Sweden will play for the gold medal in women's curling for the second straight Winter Games.
The Canadians stole a point in the second end and never surrendered their grip in a 6-4 win over world champion Britain, keeping Jennifer Jones' rink unbeaten in Sochi. Canada is assured of winning a medal in women's curling for a fifth straight Olympics.
"It's the game you have dreamed of for your entire life," said Jones, who has been wearing eye shadow with a gold hue throughout the tournament.
Sweden will seek a third straight gold medal after beating Switzerland 7-5 in a game that also went down to the final shot. It fell to Swiss skip Mirjam Ott, who was too heavy with a draw for two points that would have won the game for her team.
"It was a really exciting, close game and it's just great, great happiness," said Sweden skip Margaretha Sigfridsson, wiping away a tear from her eye.
It would be no surprise if Thursday's final is a nail-biter, too.
Canada will be considered the favorite, having completed the round-robin stage undefeated with nine wins — an unprecedented feat in women's Olympic curling. Jones beat Sigfridsson 9-3 early in the round robin in just eight ends.
Both countries had different skips in the 2010 final in Vancouver, when Sweden won 7-6 for a second straight gold under Anette Norberg.
While Ott's missed split shot with the 160th and last stone was the deciding factor in the Sweden-Switzerland game, the key for Canada came in the first end.
The first of British skip Eve Muirhead's two shots deviated off line after going over a stray hair from one of the players' brooms, and she missed a simple takeout. It allowed Jones to take two points and Canada never lost control from that point forward.