Emma Miskew (left) and Lisa Weagle got a hero’s welcome when they landed in Ottawa after taking world gold in Beijing. Photo: Dan Plouffe
By Dan Plouffe
In 10 of 13 contests against the planet’s best curlers, their opponents conceded before the game’s scheduled finish.
Russia – the one team that managed to earn an extra end before ultimately falling, on the second day of the Mar. 18-26 event held 12 hours ahead of Ottawa in Beijing – wound up twice shaking hands early come the biggest games, downed 7-3 and 8-3 in the 1-2 page playoff and the championship final.
By the time it was over, the Ottawa Curling Club rink of Lisa Weagle, Joanne Courtney, Emma Miskew and skip Rachel Homan was officially the most dominant entry ever at the World Women’s Curling Championship – the first team to ever go through the entire event with a perfect record.
“People are talking about that a lot. It’s cool. We didn’t know that was a record we were breaking until after the game,” signals Miskew, noting the undefeated mark was a bonus, but winning gold in any fashion was the objective. “It’s pretty amazing. No one can ever take that away from us now. We’ve officially won all the medals at the worlds.”
Team Homan’s first world title came on the heels of a silver medal in 2014 and bronze in their 2013 debut.
“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet,” Weagle indicates. “We keep looking at our medals and reminding ourselves that we’re world champions. It’s really special. It was a great event for our team and I’m really happy we could bring home a gold medal for Canada.”
Weagle and Miskew were greeted by a big crowd at the airport upon their return home to Ottawa, while Homan and Courtney got a similar reception in Edmonton.
“It was really special to come down the escalator and see so many people here for us,” smiles Weagle, whose team had earlier escaped with an extra-end victory at the Canadian championships on Feb. 26 in St. Catharines. “It was hard playing in an event in China and not having the support we’re used to having at events, but to come home and see everyone here, and to get messages throughout the week from everyone has been a really big boost for us.”
It’ll be a vastly different experience come the Dec. 2-10 Roar of the Rings Canadian Olympic team trials when all the supporters who came to the airport will instead be in the stands at Canadian Tire Centre alongside thousands more to back the hometown hope.
“We make the best of it when we’re away. We’re a close team and we spend a lot of time together,” underlines Weagle, whose team will complete their 2016-17 season with April grand slam champions events in Toronto and Calgary. “But we love playing with the home crowd – in Kingston (2013), in St. Catharines, and now coming up in Ottawa for the trials.”