Norway dealt first curling loss

SOCHI, Russia -- Sweden capped a successful day for three gold medal favorites in men's curling by beating Norway 5-4 on Thursday, ending its Nordic rival's unbeaten start at the Sochi Olympics.

Canada and Britain also won in the afternoon session at the Ice Cube Curling Center to keep the pressure on tournament leader China (4-0), which had a bye.

The Canadians scored a point in the final end to beat Denmark 7-6, the second straight win for the two-time defending champions.

Like Sweden, Britain is 4-1 after beating the Unites States 5-3. The Americans are 1-3 and have little room to maneuver in their final five games of the tournament.

The biggest cheer of the afternoon came when Switzerland skip Sven Michel was heavy with a routine draw shot with his final stone of the 10th and last end, allowing Russia to steal three points and giving the host nation a 7-6 win.

Russia skip Andrey Drozdov tumbled to the ice, falling hard on his left shoulder, as he furiously swept during the first end but finished the game hugging his teammates and celebrating his team's first victory in five attempts.

Norway had its first real test against Sweden, after opening the tournament with wins over the U.S., Russia and Germany.

In the end, their snazzy pants -- in the pattern of the Norway flag -- were sharper than the team's play.

"They are our biggest rivals but also our best friends on tour," Norway curler Christoffer Svae said of the Swedes. "So a little mixed feelings. Obviously, we hate to lose to them but we are happy to be 3-1 after four games."

Sweden bounced back from a sluggish performance in defeat to Denmark on Wednesday, taking a 4-1 lead by the fifth end and holding on without any real scares.

Ominously for the rest of the field, the Canadians seem to be finding their form after surprise early losses to Sweden and Switzerland.

Watching video clips of their unbeaten campaign in the national Olympic trials seems to have improved their confidence, and they finally seem to be getting used to playing in front of crowds far more boisterous than those in Canada.

"The big crowds in Canada cheer nice shots on every sheet and then are quiet while games are going on," Canada skip Brad Jacobs said. "(Here), it's more like a soccer game, a football game -- there is cheering non-stop and tons of noise. It's a completely different environment, something new to us.

"And I think we've figured out what we need to do in order to stick to our game."

Canada relied on deuces in the fourth and sixth ends to get ahead of Denmark, which played two poor shots in the final end -- one coming to a stop before the hog line and another running through the house -- to give Jacobs a free shot at the winning point.

"We are more used to adversity than sailing through things," Jacobs said. "It's familiar territory for us and there's nothing wrong with a good grind in a week of curling. We like it."

Russia's victory leaves Germany (0-4) as the only team without a win after four days of competition.