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Rachel Homan delivers her stone from the hack

Team Canada’s mixed doubles duo takes another positive step with victory over Switzerland

Team Canada’s Rachel Homan and John Morris took another positive step forward Thursday, stealing three points in the first end en route to a 7-5 win over Switzerland in mixed doubles curling at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Morris and Homan, friends since she was a young girl first getting into curling, continued their improved play since dropping their opening game to Great Britain on Wednesday. The pair posted two victories Thursday, having beaten Norway 7-6 earlier in the day.

“That’s more like our game, that’s the Canada game there, be relentless, put the heat on,” Morris said of their win over Switzerland. “We were a little bit out of sorts the first two games … that was much more comfortable. Know what I think it was? Listened to a little Tragically Hip in our pregame and I was drawing some inner strength from Gord Downie.”

The Canadians have only one game Friday, against the host duo from China. The 10-team round robin continues through Sunday and the top four teams will then advance to Monday’s semifinals. The medal games will be played on Tuesday.

John Morris sweeps a stone
Team Canada curler John Morris throws a stone during the Mixed Doubles Round Robin during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Thursday, February 03, 2022. Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/COC

Canada is now tied with Great Britain, Czech Republic and China at 2-1. Italy tops the standings at 3-0 following by Sweden at 3-1.

“We’re getting into a rhythm of this event,” said Morris, a firefighter and father of two who lives in Canmore, Alta., “When you go from a training camp to isolation to a new country it’s not easy to come of the gate firing on all cylinders. Good thing is we’re getting better each game. I like the way we’re trending.”

Playing in what is called the Ice Cube – the former Aquatic Centre for the 2008 Summer Olympics – and in front of select small crowds, the Swiss team of Jenny Perret and Martin Rios missed all five of their shots in the first end. Morris and Homan made five excellent shots to steal the three.

The teams traded two singles and two deuces as Canada maintained its lead with Homan and Morris both making key shots to keep pressure on the Swiss most the game. Combined the duo shot 84 percent. Homan said at the fourth-end break that the first end score took off some pressure of having to make big shots.

“But we’re not letting off when we have the opportunity,” she said. “We have a good handle on the ice and rocks.”

Even in the sixth end when Switzerland used its powerplay it took a difficult, delicate tap back on Perret’s final stone to prevent a Canadian steal and score two for the Swiss. But a single in seven gave Canada a three-point margin going into the final end when they gladly gave up a single.

The game was a rematch of the 2018 Olympic final when Morris, at 43 the oldest male athlete on Canada’s 2022 Olympic team, and Kaitlyn Lawes beat the Swiss duo 10-3 in the mixed doubles debut at the Games.

Perret and Rios, the 2017 World champions – they beat Canadians Joanne Courtney and Reid Carruthers in the final — have had a difficult start in Beijing. The duo previously lost 7-6 to China and 8-7 to Italy in an extra end.