SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Sweden's curlers gave each other long, warm hugs on the edge of the ice and waved into a TV camera after securing their place in the Olympic semifinals.
Then they looked up to the stand to thank their small band of travelling fans.
But if the Swedes were hoping to see their king and queen, they were out of luck.
King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife, Queen Silvia, were at the Ice Cube Curling Center on Sunday morning to watch the men's team reach the playoffs.
The royals had long gone — up to the mountains to see Sweden win the men's cross-country skiing relay — by the time Maria Prytz bumped a stone into the button for two points at the final end and a 5-4 win over Russia.
It guaranteed the team a spot in the playoffs and a shot at Sweden's third straight gold medal in women's curling.
"We just missed them," Prytz said of the royal visitors. "I hope they stay (for the medal round). It's really good to have them here, cheering for all the Swedes."
Sweden relied on Switzerland slipping up against Japan, 9-7 in an extra end, to be assured of advancing. The Swiss dropped to a 4-4 win-loss record and are now in danger of missing the semifinals.
They will have to beat China in their last game to stand a chance of qualifying, although the best they realistically can hope for is a tiebreaker. The Chinese and Britain are the other teams vying for the top four.
Canada, which qualified for the semis on Saturday, guaranteed the top seed in the playoffs by beating the United States 7-6 in an extra end for an eighth straight win. If the Canadians beat South Korea on Monday, they will become the first women's team to go through an Olympic round-robin campaign undefeated.