After a fantastic Scotties and winning the Canadian women’s curling championship to represent the nation, Ontario’s Rachel Homan isn’t having the same luck at the world women’s curling championship.
The Canadian teams always have the pressure to perform well when they get to worlds, as they have won the most gold medals in the history of the event with 15, but it seems that the pressure can be too much. The last time Canada won the event was 2008; there was no medal in 2009, in 2010 they won bronze, in 2011 silver and in 2012 back to bronze.
Kelly Scott was the last team to win for Canada, but it wasn’t her first trip to worlds having won bronze in 2007 before their 2008 gold medal win. Canada has proven to be one of the top curling nations, but when the same team isn’t consistently winning the Scotties, the lack of experience at worlds likely plays a role in the lack of titles as of late.
Looking at this year’s championship being held in Riga, Latvia, Homan’s team is a “rookie” team compared to the teams towards the top of the standings. With a 4-3 record through Tuesday play, their three losses came against Scotland, U.S.A. and Sweden.
Scotland’s team skipped by Eve Muirhead won silver at the 2010 event. She hasn’t been back since, but that experience in 2010 seems to be paying off as they sit atop the standings with Sweden.
Sweden’s team also isn’t a stranger to the World stage. Skipped by Margaretha Sigfridsson, they first won silver in 2002 before another silver in 2009 and a third last year at worlds in Lethbridge. Defeating Canada 8-4 on Tuesday it showed again why the experience against top Canada teams at the Scotties for Homan isn’t enough to battle the world’s best, yet.
Their third loss came against the U.S.A. Although it was only a one-point loss in an extra end, Homan was up against an experienced team that knew how to grind out a win and contain the Canadian team in the tenth end. Skipped by Erika Brown, they have a wealth of world experience beginning in 1995, with her first medal (silver) coming a year later in 1996 and a second silver in 1999. Her third, Debbie McCormick, likely looks out of place for anyone that follows the sport seriously. A former skip, McCormick represented the U.S. at the Olympics on multiple occasions, most recently at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but also has three world medals (1996 - silver, 2003 – gold and 2006 - silver) to her name. Homan showed poise at the Scotties, but the three losses she’s suffered so far have been to much more experienced teams at this level.
There is also more experience awaiting her team in the Chinese representatives skipped by Bingyu Wang. They won the event in 2009 and have been back at the event year in and year out since 2006. Canada plays them on Thursday.
Although there were four teams tied with 4-3 records after Tuesday’s play and Homan not being eliminated from playoff contention yet, it looks like this year might just be a learning experience for her team. Should they squeak into the playoffs I see little chance in them being able to outlast any of the current top two teams in Scotland and Sweden. The best they will finish is bronze, if that.
Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @NGNewsChris.