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August 27, 2014

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Flawless curler Jones stays in the zone for Canada

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Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Canada’s skip Jennifer Jones delivers the rock to her during women’s curling competition against Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

SOCHI, Russia — A row of curling fans wearing red jackets with the word "CANADA" emblazoned across the front applauded and waved tiny Maple Leaf flags in unison as Jennifer Jones landed another stone right on target.

The Canada skip just didn't miss on Tuesday — and the statistics back that up.

Jones made all 16 of her shots with 100 percent accuracy — a very rare occurrence in curling — in an unforgiving performance against Sweden, as Canada blew away the European champions 9-3 in just eight ends at the women's Olympic tournament.

This was the same Sweden which is the two-time defending champion and had opened the tournament by beating world champion Britain.

"We played a good game," Sweden skip Margaretha Sigfridsson said, "but that's not enough when you play a team that is playing perfect."

Whether it was a slow draw into the target or a shot to take out Sweden's rocks, Jones got everything just right. Her display earned her rave reviews from teammates, rivals and fans across social media.

"She was seeing everything and had that fire in her eyes, going after it all," Canadian player Kaitlyn Lawes said. "She was on fire, was lighting it up out there."

Canada's women curlers have won a medal at every Olympics since the sport returned to the program in 1998. Their only gold came in '98, but there is another in the offing if Jones keeps up her brilliant form.

On Monday, the Canadians required just seven of the allotted 10 ends to crush China 9-2.

Their early finish in the morning session allowed Jones and her teammates extra time to head up to the mountains, where they went to support their compatriots in the slopestyle events in the Sochi sunshine.

If Jones' was the individual performance of Day 2, there's no doubt who produced the best team display.

Britain scored an Olympic-record seven points in one end on the way to a 12-3 win over the United States in the evening session, earning the likely gold-medal contenders a first victory in the tournament.

British skip Eve Muirhead broke the previous record of six points — set by Swedish and Canadian men's teams — in the fourth end of the game with a routine takeout shot after a series of errors by the Americans.

"I hadn't actually sat there and counted them up until I threw my last shot," said U.S. skip Erika Brown, who left an open shot after trying to rectify a number of misses by her teammates. "I thought, 'Oh dear.' "Obviously it's not the record I hoped to be a part of."

Muirhead made no mistake with an easy nose-hit, leaving seven British rocks in the points-scoring target area.

"I'm surprised actually a little bit that it is a record," Muirhead said. "But hey-ho — we can say we are record holders."

The maximum score a team can achieve in one end in curling is eight points.

Switzerland (3-0), the European champion, tops the standings after following up a 7-6 win over Denmark in the morning by beating Korea 8-6 in the evening. Canada (2-0) is the other unbeaten team.

Russia's unbeaten start was ended by a 7-5 loss to China in the evening, leaving the host nation 2-1. Japan (1-1) beat Denmark 8-3 in the other late game.

The Danes joined the U.S., which was beaten 9-6 by Russia in the morning, on 0-3 records. The American men and women combined are 0-5.

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