Sometimes, when people find things are going their way, they really go their way.
Take Canmore curler John Morris, for example.
Not only has he returned to Canada from the PyeongChang Olympics with a second gold medal around his neck, this time in mixed doubles, he and fiancé Maggie welcomed young Jack to the world via delivery at Canmore General Hospital, Tuesday (March 27).
With Jack joining the family, plans for a summer wedding in the works and dedication to a new curling career trajectory, things are definitely going Morris’s way.
“Everything’s going great,” said Morris. “He’s a big, healthy boy and it was a very nice experience having a baby at the Canmore hospital. We really didn’t want to go to Calgary, so it was nice to be able to stay out here. They’ve been great to us here, it was a fantastic experience.
“Our life is here in Canmore now and it will be for many years. We’re really looking forward to growing as a family here.”
Fortunately, Jack’s arrival came at an ideal time, after the Olympic Games, so there was no distraction from the task at hand – winning a gold medal.
In 2010, Morris won a gold playing third with the Kevin Martin rink in the men’s team event; this time around, he and Kaitlyn Lawes of Winnipeg teamed up for the mixed doubles Olympic trials, winning the spot for PyeongChang. Lawes is also a two-time gold medallist, as she won in 2014 while playing third for the Jennifer Jones rink.
“It was fantastic,” said Morris of Korea. “I didn’t really know what to expect. It was the first time mixed doubles has been in the Olympics and it was a unique and special experience. I enjoyed every moment of it and our chemistry and everything worked out fantastic.
“Obviously, when you win gold it is exciting, but I feel like the luckiest guy in the world going there and now having two Olympic medals.”
Morris and Lawes began the mixed doubles event with a loss to Norway in a game Morris admitted wasn’t his best effort. But they grew stronger as a pairing as the Games went on, going undefeated the rest of the way and eventually downing the Swiss pair of Jenny Perret and Martin Rio, 10-3 in six ends for the gold medal.
“We had played a couple of those teams before and they’re really strong and have been playing the game for five or six years. So there were some formidable opponents. But I think what set us apart was the fact that we really worked well as a team and our chemistry was great. We really pulled together and if we had one or two misses, we refused to get down.
“We had each other’s back and I feel that’s what pulled us through for the gold medal. I think the more games we played, the more comfortable we got. By the end of the week, we were feeling really good.”
Winning the gold medal and standing on the podium while “O Canada” played was a big moment, said Morris, but he said the Korean people themselves were probably the most memorable aspect of the Games.
“It (being on podium) felt a bit different this time, maybe because I’m at a later stage in my career. But in 2010 I was young and on top of the world and felt I was going to be there forever.
“But this time, I was more appreciative, and a bit more reflective, and it was more emotional.”
Fortunately, for Morris and Lawes, the mixed doubles competition ended early in the Games, which left time to cheer on Canadians at other venues and in other sports.
“I went to hockey games, I went to the sliding track and the bobsled teams were on fire, so that was what made this experience more unique. We weren’t able to do all that in Vancouver (2010), so to do that, those are memories I’ll never forget.
“It was great to be able to soak it all in and enjoy it a bit more.”
Due to time constraints with an early start to Games competition, mixed doubles began before day one, Morris and Lawes missed the opening ceremonies, but made up for that at the end.
“It was sure special walking in at the closing. You build a bond with people while you’re there and it was a great experience to celebrate with all the Canadians. You make a lot of great friendships; like Jesse Lumsden (bobsled) who I met in 2010. We’re still great friends, fish together and hang out and they had their first baby a year ago.
“But you know, Korea itself was such a wonderful experience. They’re very respectful, very passionate, very helpful, it was very safe. I really enjoyed being there and taking it all in.
“And something that stood out to me is that you don’t know the reputation Canadians have abroad, but I’m very proud to be Canadian because we’re seen as such a great nation by the rest of the world and it was very evident there.
“Everywhere we went, like Czech House, Austria House, we were so well received and I was proud to see the reputation we have. It’s just a good feeling that you come from a good country and you have great values.”