HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-At-Home Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
WEEKEND WRAP: Rachel Homan may just be the mother of all curlers.
The Ottawa Curling Club athlete curled extremely well during her two pregnancies. But now, she stepped up her courage and determination by curling three weeks after the delivery of her second child.
And she’s excelling, showing her trademark grit, focus and shot making. Despite losing her first game in the Grand Slam of Curling’s Humpty’s Champions Cup, her rink rebounded to not only reach Monday night’s final, but also to take the title.
Three weeks after the birth of daughter Bowyn, a sister for almost two-year-old brother Ryatt, Homan captured her 11th Grand Slam title, defeating defending Champions Cup champion Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland 6-3.
“To make it to the final and to be able to pull off that win, it felt really good,” Homan told Sportsnet after the final. “When you’re out here and able to compete, (it) gives you more energy. It has been great, definitely tiring and lots of sleepless nights with a newborn, but we’re just so happy to be out here curling.”
Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson, who lost to Homan in Sunday night’s Champions Cup semifinals after defeating her for the Canadian women’s championship, felt compelled to elevate the Ottawa curler to super-hero status on the competition’s first day.
“She’s like superwoman,” Einarson told sportswriter Jonathan Brazeau in a recent feature on Homan. “I told her that when we were going out there, ‘Holy man, Rachel. You’re Superwoman.’ It’s so impressive and she played so well.”
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Homan shot an impressive 84 per cent in her opening Champions Cup match in the Calgary curling bubble at WinSport Canada Olympic Park. But it was Einarson who made the shot of the match for four with her last stone for a 6-3 win.
“Surprisingly, it feels like it hasn’t been long since we played at the Scotties (national championship),” Homan said, following her first match. “Just picked up right where I left off.”
For the remainder of her Pool A matches, Homan posted three wins, and advanced to the elimination playoff round, where she defeated Satsuki Fujisawa 5-4 in the quarterfinals and Einarson 5-3 in the semifinals.
In the final, Homan scored every time she had the hammer and stole one in the eighth to solidify her rink’s victory. Homan’s shot making was rated at 80 per cent, while Courtney, second Sarah Wilkes and Miskew were all at 84 per cent.
In a conversation with Homan at the Canadian championships, teammate Joanne Courtney said her skip told her she was planning to return for the two Grand Slam events. A week after delivery, she told her teammates. The second Grand Slam, the Players’ Championship, starts Wednesday.
“I’m just trying to do as much as I can to curl and attain our goals,” Homan told Brazeau. “Everyone’s experience with pregnancy and delivery is going to be different so you can’t really compare.
“I was just fortunate I was able to recover quickly and to get back. It’s great I’m able to do that and it’s cool to hear others are inspired by it. We’re always trying to push ourselves in sport and see what our bodies can do.”
Courtney, the team second who was pregnant at the same time as Homan in 2019, was thrilled to have the full team available for the Champions Cup. If Homan couldn’t skip, long-time third Emma Miskew would have been the interim skip.
“I think it goes without saying she’s a bit of a medical marvel,” Courtney said. “We were so happy to hear that she was feeling great after bringing Bowyn into the world.”
“It doesn’t surprise me that she wanted to come back,” Miskew said. “Her competitive drive and athletic ability is almost second to none.”
Leslie scores during Team Canada women’s hockey pre-worlds scrimmage
Meanwhile, the Canadian women’s hockey team will conclude its world championship team selection camp on Thursday. In its first of three Red-White game on Sunday, Ottawa’s Rebecca Leslie scored for the Red team in a 5-1 loss. Kanata’s Jamie Lee Rattray also played for Red.
Team Canada had spent nearly a year apart before coming together for a March camp where “the energy was just so awesome,” Rattray noted in a recent Sports Pages story.
The worlds are scheduled for May 6-16 in Nova Scotia.
Sportstats announces renewed partnership
Ottawa-based Sportstats, the world’s largest sports timing company, has renewed its partnership for another three years with IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3 and Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series events in North America.
“It’s an exciting moment for IRONMAN and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series in North America as we see the United States continue to open and we see interest in one of the world’s great sporting events continue to grow,” said Sportstats CEO Marc Roy.
“We’ve been working hard throughout the pandemic to be ready to meet the demand for live in-person IRONMAN events and we know that with the return of events, our technology will be better than anything competitors have ever seen.”
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.