By Keith Weir
SOCHI, Russia, Feb 21 (Reuters) - World champions Sweden were relieved to have something to show for their Olympic campaign after beating China 6-4 on Friday in a dramatic extra end to take the bronze medal.
It was Sweden’s first men’s medal since curling was brought back into the Olympic programme in 1998 and followed a fourth place finish for skip Niklas Edin’s team four years ago.
“A fourth place again would have been expensive for all of us, as human beings, curlers and as a team as well,” Edin told reporters.
“It was mostly a big sigh of relief,” he said of his emotions after the victory over China which follows a silver won by Sweden’s women on Thursday.
“For Swedish curling, medals on both sides, it’s a huge step forward for Swedish curling,” he added.
Chinese skip Liu Rui had the chance to win the game but his difficult last stone was off target in the extra end after the teams had been tied 4-4 in the regulation 10 ends.
China coach Marcel Rocque looked close to tears as he rued two elementary line violations - not releasing the stone in time - which he believed cost his team a medal.
“It stings. It hurts,” the Canadian said.
“Sometimes you get beat because the other team outperforms you and sometimes you beat yourself,” he added.
“Today was one of those. That really wasn’t about them, that was about us and two mistakes.”
Editing by Ed Osmond