In a shocking result, Canada’s Rachel Homan and John Morris lost to an Australian mixed doubles curling team that thought it would have to leave the Beijing Olympics earlier Sunday because of COVID-19 issues.
The last-place team of Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt beat Homan and Morris 10-8 in an extra end despite blowing a 7-0 lead in the final draw of the day.
Just two months ago Canada’s John Morris coached Australia to Olympic qualification.
Today, in a greatly anticipated game by both sides, the Aussies defeated their previous coach in an extra end to secure their second @olympics victory! #Beijing2022 | #Curling pic.twitter.com/BhSnpVj8mM
— World Curling (@worldcurling) February 6, 2022
What’s more, Gill and Hewitt actually moved to Alberta this season and were coached by Morris.
Now, Canada is in a must-win situation in its round-robin finale against unbeaten Italy on Sunday at 8:05 p.m. ET. A win sends the Canadians to the semifinals, a loss sends them home.
Earlier Sunday, the Australian Olympic Committee said Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt had pulled out of the competition after Gill returned a series of positive COVID-19 tests.
But the previously winless Aussies (2-7) received a “late reprieve” allowing them to stay in the competition — and all they did was beat reigning Olympic silver medallists Jenny Perret and Martin Rios of Switzerland 9-6 before upsetting Canada to wrap up their Games.
The AOC said the duo was allowed to return to competition following an urgent meeting of the Medical Expert Panel (MEP) in Beijing.
The committee said the AOC received an email from the Chinese Public Health System advising that the pair can continue under the “close contact provisions.”
The MEP examined Gill’s CT values following PCR testing over the past 24 hours and determined that they fell into an acceptable range, the AOC said in a statement.
Gill contracted COVID-19 before the Games. Ongoing testing alternated between negative and positive.
Against Canada (5-3), Australia jumped out to a 7-0 lead after four ends before Homan and Morris responded with four in the fifth.
Gill made a huge shot to score one with last rock to get out of trouble in the sixth before Canada scored another three in the seventh to trim the deficit to 8-7.
The Canadians tied it and sent it to an extra end when the Aussies rolled out on a hit in the eighth.
But Canada was heavy with its last rock in the extra end, giving Australia the win.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed … We did everything we could out there in the last half to fight back and try to win that. I’m proud of our effort,” Homan told CBC.
Italy has wrapped up first at 8-0. Canada, Great Britain and Norway are tied for second at 5-3, while Sweden has wrapped up the round-robin at 5-4. The Swedes need a Canadian loss to advance, while Great Britain and Norway already are assured of semifinal spots based on tiebreakers.
— With files from The Canadian Press