Rachel Homan's Olympic pursuit starts now
Skip's Ottawa rink begins preparations for Canadian trials
Rachel Homan doesn't plan on taking off her third Scotties Tournament of Hearts championship ring anytime soon.
"It's exciting. It's fresh," says the curling star, who captured her latest Canadian title in February. "Winning it three times we feel is a huge accomplishment."
Three national titles in five Scotties appearances puts Homan in elite company. But the novelty of winning it all isn't lost on the skip or her teammates, especially when it comes in such dramatic fashion.
"To get back to the top and win it for a third time is something we're really proud of," she says.
Homan's rink went on to the world championship in Beijing and became the first women's team in history to go undefeated en route to winning gold.
Now Homan and company are reloading and setting their sights on winning the Canadian Olympic curling trials, which take place in their hometown of Ottawa in December.
After taking the month of May off to completely check out from the game, the team is back in training mode and making it clear they want to be wearing the maple leaf at next year's Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.
"There's no doubt about it. We want to be in that final and have a chance to win that game and make a shot for the win to represent Canada in the Olympics," Homan says.
The team has already mapped out what the next few months will look like leading up to the Olympic trials, including workout plans, practice times and what to eat.
Homan isn't afraid of making the team's goals public.
"I think you have to do that," she says. "Everyone around you knows your goals. They're there to support you. It helps push you and motivate you when you really don't want to go to the gym."
As much winning as the team has experienced, Homan admits she didn't believe it was ready to represent Canada at the Olympics until now.
"I think we had a lot of growing and learning to do," she says.
The Olympic trials open Dec. 2 at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre — a place Homan has visited many times, though never quite like this.
"It's definitely something I would have never thought would happen, growing up as a kid in Ottawa going to Sens games, going to concerts at that arena, now going into it trying to represent Canada at the Olympics," she says.
Homan says the team feeds off the energy provided by its fans and knows it'll be at a different level for the trials.
"We have so much support in Ottawa and we love a home crowd," Homan says.
"We're excited for December. We're thankful for the opportunity. Canada 150. Ottawa. It's really exciting times for us and we're not going to waste the opportunity that presents itself."
Reflecting on the Scotties final
In one of the most dramatic Scotties championship games ever, Homan was able to come up with two game-saving doubles to claim victory in an extra end over Manitoba's Michelle Englot.
"One of the scariest games in my career, I think," Homan says. "It was so intense and so good for curling."
Homan says the way the team was able to band together in the most pressure-packed moments bodes well going into the trials, which are as stressful as any bonspiel they'll play.
"To be able to stick with it and stick together as a team is something we'll never forget."
The skip says she and her teammates prepare all off-season for moments like they experienced in the Scotties final.
"It's more about the journey and process beforehand that you learn about yourself. The learning happens hopefully before you get to those moments. Then you can just let everything happen."
Now the team is back in its practice and prep mode, hoping to capture an Olympic opportunity that thus far has eluded a team that's won nearly everything else in the sport of curling.