Curling Canada cancels Olympic mixed doubles trials due to COVID-19 cases among athletes


Curling Canada canceled its Olympic mixed doubles trials on Sunday.

The growing number of cases of COVID-19 among athletes, as well as the rapid spread of the virus across the country, “made it impossible to organize the event in a safe and responsible manner for athletes, staff and volunteers. “, said the organization.

Trials were scheduled to begin Tuesday and continue through Sunday in Portage la Prairie, Man. The winning duo will then represent Canada at the Olympic Winter Games, which begin on February 4.

Curling Canada said its high-performance staff will now consult with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, a Canadian organization that helps fund Olympic athletes, to determine which team will compete in Beijing.

The organization also said the rapid spike in cases prevented a bubble from being created to stage the trials, as it did in Calgary for a number of events, including the Scotties and Brier earlier in 2021.

“Good call”, but “an absolute punch”

In a tweet, curler Chelsea Carey said Curling Canada made the “right decision”, but called the decision an “absolute punch”.

“Insane time and money spent qualifying / preparing for this, all for nothing,” tweeted Carey, who was scheduled to participate in the trials alongside Colin Hodgson. “And curling isn’t the only sport affected maybe time to consider postponing the Olympics?”

He announced last week that the trials would be conducted with spectators limited to 50% of Stride Place’s capacity and with athlete movement limited to their hotel room, arena and transportation to the venue.

Arrangements are underway for reimbursement of tickets.

Canada’s Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris won gold in the sport’s Olympic debut at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Lawes has already booked his ticket to Beijing as a member of Jennifer Jones’ rink, automatically excluding her from the competition. in mixed doubles. Morris instead teamed up with fellow 2018 Olympian Rachel Homan.

Other notable pairs among the 16 that will face off in Manitoba included Lisa Weagle and John Epping, Chelsea Carey and Colin Hodgson, as well as Val Sweeting and Marc Kennedy.

Jones, the 2014 Olympic champion, and Brad Gushue, the 2006 gold medalist, will represent Canada at the traditional curling events in Beijing.

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