Ottawa Citizen

Gushue, Einarson earn Olympic spot for Canada


Colour them exhausted — both physically and emotionall­y — after months spent in two different curling bubbles and in different stages of quarantine.

Unfortunat­ely, Canada can't colour Brad Gushue and Kerri Einarson with a medal after a few weeks in Scotland, competing for the 2021 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championsh­ip.

The duo leaves the event with fourth-place honours after dropping its last two games in Aberdeen.

“There was no doubt we were tired and not at our best, but we left it all on the ice — and that's all you could ask for,” said Newfoundla­nd's Brad Gushue, moments after Sunday's 7-4 loss in the bronze-medal game to Sweden. “We're disappoint­ed not to earn a medal but are proud to have earned the Olympic spot for Canada.”

Indeed, that's the big positive for the country coming out of the week-long worlds, where Gushue and Einarson needed to qualify for the playoffs to secure Canada a berth in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. They did that with a Top 3 finish in Pool A round-robin play, which then advanced them to the semifinal with an extraend win over Switzerlan­d.

But in trying to push through to the championsh­ip draw later Saturday, they were defeated by Scotland — for the second time in three days — in that semi.

With a gold medal then out of reach, the Canadians hoped to salvage a bronze medal.

But Sweden's Almida de Val and Oskar Eriksson had eyes on the third-place prize as well and came storming out of the start to count four in the first end and put Canada in chase mode from then on.

“I think it was really important for us (to start strong),” de Val told World Curling TV after the opening frame that saw Einarson miss on a hit-and-roll and her Swedish counterpar­t draw to the four-foot for the formidable count.

The Canadians tried to counter that in the second end, but in trying to raise a stubborn Swedish stone off the button and score two, their shot came up light, giving them just one in answering Sweden's hot start.

Another steal of one by Canada in the third end cut the deficit in half, but that was as close as Gushue and Einarson would get.

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