(Curling Canada News Release – January 13) A pair of Olympians and former world champions will represent Canada in mixed doubles curling at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, it was announced jointly today by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Curling Canada.
Rachel Homan (Beaumont, Alta.) and John Morris (Canmore, Alta.), along with national coach Scott Pfeifer (Sherwood Park, Alta.), will play their first game at the National Aquatics Centre (AKA the Ice Cube) in Beijing on Feb. 2 at 8:05 p.m. ET against the Great British duo of Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Mouat, the reigning world mixed doubles champions.
It will be Morris’s third trip to the Winter Olympics and an opportunity to be a three-time Olympic gold-medallist. He teamed with Kaitlyn Lawes in 2018 at PyeongChang to win the inaugural Olympic mixed doubles gold medal, and also played vice-skip for Kevin Martin’s four-player men’s team that claimed gold in 2010 at Vancouver. He is a three-time champion at the Tim Hortons Brier, and a member of Martin’s 2008 world championship gold-medal team.
Homan will be playing in her second Olympics, having skipped Canada’s women’s team in 2018 in PyeongChang. Homan, a three-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion, also skipped her team to a world women’s championship gold medal in 2017 in Beijing at the Capital Indoor Stadium — just 17 minutes away from the Ice Cube curling venue.
“John and I are eager to get to Beijing and make Canada proud,” said Homan. “We know these are difficult circumstances, and we truly appreciate the faith being shown in us by Curling Canada.”
“Rachel and I have played a lot of mixed doubles together over the years with the dream of playing for Canada at the Olympics,” added Morris. “We can’t wait to get over there and give it our best. We know it’s a tough field, but we’ve worked extremely hard this season and we’ll be fighting hard for gold in Beijing.”
Canada’s Olympic mixed doubles team was supposed to be the winner of the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Trials that were scheduled for Dec. 28-Jan. 2 in Portage la Prairie, Man. But positive tests for COVID-19 among athletes who were scheduled to attend, along with the potential for more cases during the event, forced Curling Canada to cancel the Trials and select a team to nominate to the COC.“After cancelling the Trials, we engaged in extensive consultation with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium and it became increasingly apparent that the nomination criteria for selecting athletes should put a premium on experience on the world championship and Olympic stage, as well as experience and success playing together in mixed doubles,” said Katherine Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Curling Canada. “We are blessed with an amazing pool of mixed doubles players, and I feel nothing but compassion for the curlers who were to compete in the Trials and had that opportunity taken from them by the pandemic. But we are confident that Rachel and John will make Canada proud in Beijing.”
Homan and Morris, both originally from Ottawa and now playing out of the Canmore Golf and Curling Club, have extensive experience in the mixed doubles discipline. They were slated to team up at the 2017 Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials before Homan’s four-player women’s team prevailed at the 2017 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials. Morris then teamed with Lawes to win the mixed doubles trials and went on to the Olympic gold a few weeks later.
Homan and Morris won a silver medal at the 2017 Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship, and earlier this season topped a world-class field to win the Qualico Mixed Doubles Classic in Canmore and Banff, Alta., beating the duo of Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant (both 2022 Olympians in four-player curling) in the final.
Team Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg) and Team Brad Gushue (St. John’s, N.L.) will be Canada’s four-player teams at the Winter Olympics.
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organizations.
“We fully support the adjustment made by Curling Canada in their team selection criteria for mixed doubles under the extraordinary circumstances, and we are excited to watch Team Canada compete,” said Eric Myles, Chief of Sport for the Canadian Olympic Committee.
“Every sport has been impacted differently around qualifying Olympic quota spots as a result of COVID-19, and the cancellation of the mixed doubles curling trials in Canada is another example of that,” added Anne Merklinger, chief executive officer, Own the Podium. “We are fortunate in Canada to have significant depth in our national curling program. While it is unfortunate the nation’s elite curling athletes were not able to compete head-to-head for the opportunity to represent Canada in Beijing during these unprecedented times, we are thrilled that Curling Canada has been able to find a solution to field a strong team at the Olympic Winter Games.”
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