Mor­ris’s sole fo­cus is mixed dou­bles

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - TED WY­MAN [email protected]­media.com

Two-time Olympic gold medal­list John Mor­ris is pretty much done with men’s curl­ing.

Mor­ris is con­cen­trat­ing solely on mixed dou­bles this year and doesn’t ex­pect to go back to the tra­di­tional four-player game any time soon.

“Go­ing for­ward, I’d say I would be quite sur­prised if I play men’s again,” Mor­ris said.

“I might spare the odd time here and there and I think I’m still go­ing to be in­volved in some as­pect, whether it be coach­ing or high-per­for­mance train­ing, but at this stage in my ca­reer and in this stage of my life, to be on the road for that long and to not be at the very top, like we were with Kevin Mar­tin, I can’t see do­ing that.”

Mor­ris, 39, won gold with Kait­lyn Lawes in the in­au­gu­ral mixed dou­bles com­pe­ti­tion at the Olympic Win­ter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea last Fe­bru­ary. That came eight years after he won a gold medal in men’s curl­ing as the third for Mar­tin at the Van­cou­ver Olympics.

Not long after the Olympics, Mor­ris be­came a fa­ther to a baby boy named Jack.

He saw con­cen­trat­ing on mixed dou­bles as a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to cut down on his time on the road, spend plenty of time at home help­ing his wife Mag­gie, and still keep curl­ing at a high level.

“It’s been a grind for the last 20 years, play­ing on tour,” Mor­ris said. “As much fun as it’s been and as great of an op­por­tu­nity as it has been, you sac­ri­fice a lot when you are away from home for so long.”

The plan is for Mor­ris and Lawes to play to­gether for the next two years and see where it takes them. After that, they’ll de­cide if they want to take an­other run at the 2022 Olympics in Bei­jing.

The only catch is Lawes is also com­mit­ted to play­ing third for the Jen­nifer Jones rink, a team that won the world women’s cham­pi­onship ear­lier this year.

As a re­sult, Mor­ris and Lawes might play to­gether in only a few events this year, but he has a few spares lined up for the other events. He plans to play seven in to­tal, in­clud­ing the World Cup in Omaha, Neb., in early De­cem­ber. For that event, he will play with Ed­mon­ton’s Tay­lor McDon­ald.

“It’s hard to make a four-year plan when Kait­lyn’s tied to prob­a­bly the best women’s team in the world,” Mor­ris said. “They have a great thing go­ing there and she’s very busy with that. We want to keep giv­ing it a go with mixed dou­bles so we’re play­ing to­gether when we can.”

Mor­ris, who also plans to play with Jo­lene Camp­bell of Swift Cur­rent, Sask., this sea­son, says mixed dou­bles is grow­ing in Canada and around the world.

“We’re so deep-rooted in tra­di­tional curl­ing in Canada here, but we have to look at the stats and the stats are show­ing that there’s more and more curl­ing clubs hav­ing trou­ble fill­ing their leagues up. One way to help that out is to come up with cre­ative changes and this mixed dou­bles game is one of them.”

John Mor­ris

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