Morris and Lawes open with mixed results in doubles curling at Olympics

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics officially open Friday but Canadians were in competition mode Thursday

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics don’t officially open until Friday but a couple of Canadians were already in competition mode Thursday.

Doubles curlers John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes opened the Games with a disappointing 9-6 loss to Norway’s Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten before rebounding with a 6-4 win over Americans Becca and Matt Hamilton.

The event is making its debut in Pyeongchang, and despite Canada’s curling dominance, the country isn’t considered the gold-medal favourite.

Both Ottawa’s Morris and Winnipeg’s Lawes are Olympic gold medallists in curling but they had little experience playing mixed doubles together prior to winning January’s trials.

Wednesday’s games came down to tight finishes. The Norwegians stole two in the eighth end to seal the victory in the opener, while Morris needed to place a perfect draw to the button in the final end in the win over the United States.

“Obviously wanted to start off with a win, but it’s a long week thankfully,” said Lawes. “We’ll come back stronger.”

Lawes said she and Morris had “a couple key misses here and there.”

“If we can turn those full misses into at least half shots then we’ll have a little bit more success,” she added.

Morris said he and Lawes are still figuring out the ice.

“The ice was nice and consistent, but I have to make sure I throw to my tolerance a bit more so that if I do miss, it’s not a killer miss,” he said.

FOLLOW: For all Black Press Media Olympic coverage click here.

Morris, 39, won Olympic gold in 2010 playing third for Kevin Martin. Lawes, 29, won gold in 2014 as vice for Jennifer Jones.

“To be able to slide over the Olympic rings and to feel as though we’re part of something historic is really powerful and special,” said Lawes. ”It’s something I’ll never forget. I’m really proud and honoured to be a part of this.”

Also on Thursday, former NHL veteran Chris Kelly was named captain of Canada’s men’s hockey team.

Kelly, who helped the Boston Bruins win a Stanley Cup in 2011 and most recently played with the Ottawa Senators, will be tasked with leading Canada in its quest for a third straight Olympic men’s hockey title.

“Such a great honour,” Kelly said. “And very humbling. There’s so many great people in that locker room who could ultimately be wearing it. It’s a thrill.”

Meanwhile, Canada’s Manuel Osborne-Paradis posted the fastest time in the first Olympic downhill training session.

Osborne-Paradis, from Invermere, B.C., finished in one minute 40.45 seconds in breezy, sunny conditions at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. He’s making his fourth appearance at the Winter Olympics.

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud was second in 1:40.76 and Switzerland’s Mauro Caviezel was third in 1:40.90.

Additional training sessions were scheduled for Friday and Saturday ahead of Sunday’s race.

In ski jumping, Calgary’s Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes advanced to the competition phase of the men’s normal hill competition, placing 23rd in qualifying with a score of 114.6. Germany’s Andreas Wellinger led all jumpers at 133.5 points.

Outside competition, the norovirus outbreak at Olympic venues continued to threaten the Games. The number of confirmed cases grew to 128 by Thursday evening, with 42 new instances.

None of the cases are athletes, and the COC said no Canadian staff members have been affected.

“(Athletes have) trained eight to 12 years for this one moment in time when they can prove and perform, and of course it’s a tragedy if they get derailed by injury or illness. A lot of focus has been on injury coming into the Games, but an illness can derail you the same way,” Canadian Olympic Committee medical director Dr. Bob McCormack said.

And Canada’s Olympic team apologized, sort of, for a reported spat at a cafeteria between a Canadian and a Russian.

COC executive director of sport Eric Myles did not reveal whether the Canadian involved was an athlete, coach or support personnel, or exactly what was said.

“It’s an incident, a cafeteria discussion that happened earlier in the week,” Myles said. ”This morning we had an opportunity to have a discussion between the two organizations and everything is OK.

“We said ‘Hey, if something happened, we’re sorry.’”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer to host WHL Bantam Draft and WHL Awards

Hockey Alberta also working to host 2019 Alberta Cup to create a new hockey festival

Alberta Professional Chuckwagon & Chariot Association back for Westerner Days

Association back as organization for Red Deer Motors North American Pony Chuckwagon Championships

City rejects $50,000 rent supplement for Asooahum Crossing

Council will advocate provincial, federal governments for sustainable funding

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Series launches Feb. 22nd in the Nickle Studios

Three one-acts already sold out, full-length June production is in the works

WATCH: New Habitat for Humanity builds in Red Deer launched

Organization has 130 families on the waiting list for new homes

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

BC Wine Institute to take legal action against Alberta

The BC Wine Institute to seek injunction to protect B.C. wineries from Alberta wine ban

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Trump says more must be done to protect children

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.

Evangelist Billy Graham has died at 99

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Canadians capture bronze in women’s bobsled event

Canadians Humphries, George take bronze in women’s bobsled event at Olympics

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

Most Read