Australia’s first curling pair of Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt have defeated Switzerland 9-6 for their first victory after opening their first Olympics with seven straight losses.
Earlier today, the pair looked set for an early flight home after Gill returned a series of positive COVID-19 tests yesterday.
With Gill moved to an isolation hotel, the Australian Olympic Committee announced that the pair would miss their final two round-robin matches and return home as soon as possible.
But in a bizarre turn of events, they were given a late reprieve and to compete in their scheduled match against Switzerland, following an urgent meeting of the Medical Expert Panel (MEP) in Beijing.
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The AOC received counsel from the Chinese Public Health System, advising that the team could continue under close contact provisions – the same arrangements Gill was previously being managed under.
Australian Olympic Team chef de mission Geoff Lipshut said Gill and Hewitt were excited to be able to resume their campaign.
“We are thrilled for Tahli and Dean and I am delighted that our headquarters team continued pressing her case, after earlier advice that the pair could no longer compete,” he said.
Highlighting a day they’ll never forget, Gill threw the takeout shot that resulted in a three-ender, or three points, that tied the game at 6 in the sixth end.
They fist-bumped Swiss curlers Martin Rios and Jenny Perret, hugged each other and then waved to a spectator who occasionally had yelled, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” in the mostly empty arena.
“You know what? They just experienced the COVID Olympics 101 right there,” said the Aussie duo’s coach, defending mixed doubles gold medalist John Morris of Canada.
“I’m sure it was a really tough time for Tahli. I was heartbroken for her when I heard they were out. I’m absolutely ecstatic they’re still playing in this.”
– with AP
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