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Bow Valley Olympians Feb. 6 recap: Canada must win tonight in mixed doubles; Australia's wild 24 hours

It's do or die for Canada's mixed doubles curling team tonight at 6 p.m. against Italy

BEIJING – It's do or die for Canada's Olympic mixed doubles curling team.

A huge showdown tonight (Feb. 6) at 6 p.m. MST between the Canucks and undefeated Italians determines which teams go for gold.

With one spot up for grabs, Italy (8-0), Great Britain (5-3) and Norway (5-3) have advanced to Monday's quarterfinals and Sweden and Canada are on the outside looking in.

"Yes, Italy has been playing great, and but I also know what Rachel and John are capable of, so I’m really looking forward to a good battle in the [evening]," said Canada's coach Marc Kennedy in a blog for Curling Canada.

Currently, Canadians John Morris and Rachel Homan's record is 5-3 and Sweden's 5-4 with no round robin games remaining. However, the Swedes hold the tie-breaker over the Canucks after defeating them 6-2.

RELATED: John Morris: Bow Valley's Beijing Bound Athletes

Canada defeated Czech Republic, China, U.S.A. and Norway, and lost to Sweden, Great Britain, and, most recently, to Morris' pupils of Team Australia.

It's been a wild 24 hours for Australia's Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt, who nearly forfeited their last two games against PyeongChang's gold and silver medallists, Canada and Switzerland.

Team Australia, the historic first ever Olympic curling representative for the country, announced Saturday (Feb. 5) its Olympic campaign had ended in mixed doubles after Gill returned a series of positive COVID-19 tests late that day.

The Australians had trained under Morris in Canmore, Alta. since September leading up to the Games.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) planned to bring the duo home and Gill packed her bags and took to social media: "Over a month ago, I tested positive for COVID and unfortunately my body has just been really slow at shedding off dead virus, so even though I'm not infectious and haven't been infectious for a while now we've had to end our Olympic campaign, which is absolutely devastating."

But in a surprising turn of events, the Chinese Public Health System sent a last-minute advisory to the AOC that Gill and Hewitt could continue under the close contact provisions.

According to the AOC, the medical expert panel examined Gill's CT (cycle threshold) values following PCR testing over the past 24 hours and determined that they "fell into an acceptable range."

Australia, who was 0-7 in the round robin at that point, rushed to its game against Switzerland, where Gill and Hewitt made history again, winning 9-6, and claiming the country's first win in curling at the Olympics.

Flying high, Australia then battled Canada and got out to an incredible 7-0 lead after four ends. Morris and Homan made it interesting and clawed back into the game, tying it at 8-8, and forcing an extra end.

However, the Aussies held off the comeback and won 10-8 to set up Canada's do or die game against Italy.

In a social media post, Team Homan Morris wrote: "We tried hard to battle back this morning, unfortunately we lost in an extra end. Big game tonight while we end the round robin."

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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