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Edin makes a "one in a 1,000" game-tying spinner at world curling playdowns

Niklas Edin Sweden Niklas Edin - The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Thinking it may have been a circus throw for show, some laughs were heard at TD Place when Niklas Edin tried a spin shot in the 10th end of Sweden's game against Norway on Wednesday.

Gasps mixed with shrieks of incredulity rang out when he actually made it.

Edin, the defending champion at the world men's curling playdowns, tied the game with an otherworldly shot that left the sport's most seasoned rock-throwers at a loss for words.

"There's these moments in sports where sometimes the moment is bigger than the result of the game," said curling commentator Tyler George, who won Olympic gold in 2018.

"I will remember that shot for as long as I live."

Other broadcasters on site were also wowed.

"That's insane. That's the best shot I've ever seen in my life," Russ Howard — a two-time world champ and 2006 Olympic champion — said on the TSN broadcast.

Mike Harris, a 1998 Olympic silver medallist, echoed those thoughts.

"Best shot, yes," he said in a text. "Most imaginative for sure."

Down two and looking at a stone staggered the wrong way on the side of the eight-foot ring, Edin's rock spun like a top as it made its way down the sheet.

The extra action allowed the rock to curl much more than usual. A normal stone usually rotates just a few times.

"Easily the most unbelievable shot I've ever seen in curling," said curling oddsmaker Matt Hall, a 2019 world junior champ with a master's degree in mathematics.

"I counted 53.5 rotations, (it) made contact on the 47th rotation."

The stone curled hard as it approached the rings, missed a couple of guards before it swung in to tap the Norwegian stone off the Swedish rock.

After making contact, it rolled to the back of the eight-foot and settled just enough for a game-tying deuce that was confirmed on a measure.

"It was basically the only shot that was there theoretically for two," Edin said. "I had nothing else to try. Luckily I made it just good enough to get the extra (end). But I just missed too many easy shots today."

Norway scored a single in the 11th end for an 8-7 win, handing the Swedes their first loss of round-robin play.

George said that with the rocks' positioning, the challenge was to tap the stone at just the right angle to go over the top without moving the rock behind it.

"With all the rotation it had, Niklas got it to basically walk sideways at the end, still have enough weight to push it that way and then kick off of it and stay in the rings too," he said.

"I mean without a telestrator with about 10 arrows, it's tough to explain it. Just a remarkable moment."

Edin didn't have a name for the shot — the 'helicopter' or 'spinning top' might be contenders — — and simply called it "a spinner."

"That was the only thing possible," he said "Otherwise it's handshakes, so might as well."

The Norwegian players clapped in appreciation — along with almost everyone else in the building — after the measurement confirmed the score.

"We knew it was there," Edin said. "It's just very tough to make. It's very lucky to hit that exact spot."

Edin added it was a situation that you might encounter once or twice in your career.

"I tried it a few times for fun but I never practised it to actually have to do it," he said. "With newly papered rocks, it's one in a thousand maybe."

The broadcasters and World Curling Federation staffers on the media bench were left abuzz at what they had witnessed.

"I think a noise came out of us in the booth too," George said. "I don't think it was words, it was just excitement. You turn into a fan for a moment."

The 37-year-old Edin, the reigning Olympic champion, has won four world titles in a row.

"You really don't expect that," George said. "But he's the greatest ever. Expect anything."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2023.

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