Brad Gushue (left) points at something while talking to Kerri Einarson.World Curling/Céline Stucki
World Curling/Céline Stucki

Canada books Olympic mixed doubles curling berth for Beijing 2022

Team Canada will be in all three Olympic curling tournaments at Beijing 2022 after Kerri Einarson and Brad Gushue secured a mixed doubles spot for the country at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Aberdeen, Scotland.

On Friday, they locked up a playoff position as one of the top three teams in Group A. That also ensured they would be among the top seven teams in the tournament, all of whom will earn Olympic spots for their countries.

The Manitoba-Newfoundland duo kicked off the worlds on a winning note on Monday with an 8-6 victory over Spain. The Spaniards actually had the lead in that one until Canada tied it by scoring three in the fifth end. After trading singles in the sixth and seventh ends, Canada stole two in the eighth to lock up the win.

Next was a more straight forward 9-6 win in seven ends against Germany, as the Canadians controlled the game from the beginning. They made it a two-win Tuesday by defeating Hungary 7-5.

Einarson and Gushue had their first loss added to their record in a tough Wednesday morning match against Australia, who had been winless heading into the game but were bronze medallists at the 2019 World Championships. However, the Canadians quickly bounced back from the 8-5 loss to get an 8-3 win over South Korea that afternoon.

On Thursday morning, they needed another comeback, this time against Italy, who were up 3-1 after four ends. Einarson and Gushue got two in the fifth and then stole one in the sixth. Italy went for the power play in the seventh, but the Canadians held them to a single point, making it a 4-4 game. With the hammer in the eighth and final end, Einarson and Gushue used their power play and got two points for the 6-4 victory.

That kept them atop the Group A standings, tied with Scotland at 5-1 and setting up a pivotal showdown on Thursday afternoon.

Team Canada fell behind the Scots 6-2 early but couldn’t muster the comeback this time, ultimately losing 8-5. With a record of 5-2, Einarson and Gushue were now tied for second in Pool A with Italy while holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Heading into Friday, the Canadians sat in a favourable position with a chance to lock up a top-three finish in their pool and a qualification spot at Beijing 2022. They wasted no time in settling that issue, beating Czech Republic 6-2 in their first game of the day to claim a quota spot for Canada.

Who will wear the maple leaf at Beijing 2022 will be determined at the Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials, which will take place December 28 to January 2 at a location to be announced. Sixteen teams will be there, playing for the honour of being Team Canada in the second Olympic mixed doubles curling tournament. Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris memorably won gold for Canada in the event’s debut at PyeongChang 2018.

The Canadian Curling Trials for the men’s and women’s four-player teams will take place November 20-28 and anyone who earns a spot on the Olympic team in those events will not be eligible to compete at the Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials.

Earlier in May, Einarson and her rink secured Canada’s Olympic women’s spot at the world championships in Calgary. That followed Brendan Bottcher and his team locking up the men’s Olympic spot for Canada at their worlds in early April, also in Calgary.