Rachel Homan wins historic 10th Grand Slam curling title
Ottawa skip defeats Switzerland's Tirinzoni at Canadian Open
NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Rachel Homan made curling history Sunday afternoon by winning the 10th Grand Slam title of her career, surpassing Jennifer Jones's previous record of nine.
The victory at the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask., also marks the Ottawa team's third-straight Slam win, the only team ever to have done so. And it's the second time they've done it; Homan put together three-straight Slam wins in 2015 as well.
Homan, who is expecting her first child in June, was laser-focused again while leading her team to a 4-3 victory over Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni.
"It feels amazing," Homan said. "It was important for us to do well here. Our team played so strong the whole way through and found a way to win."
WATCH | Homan clinches 10th career Grand Slam of Curling title
It's hard to imagine the level of disappointment Rachel Homan and her team out of Ottawa felt after what happened at the Winter Olympics last February — they so badly wanted to bring home a medal for Canada and fell short of the podium and playoffs.
The foursome spent the off-season regrouping and refocusing for this season — they also hired Marcel Rocque to coach them.
They've found the fire again that has made them one of the best women's teams in the world for years now. The way in which Homan, Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle have rebounded since then is nothing short of remarkable.
They're on a roll right now and ranked No. 1 in the world — they're making it look easy, too.
"We're just getting better and better as a team and when we're struggling a little bit we're learning and trying to help each other out," Homan said.
Homan's team have now played in four consecutive Slam finals, winning the last three. They went undefeated this week in North Battleford and seem to have a competitive fire unrivalled by any other team in the women's game right now.
"We've worked so hard to get to where we're at. We're going to have our lows and missteps but we keep pushing forward and growing as a team. I think this week just shows we can bounce back to win three straight."
Bottcher wins 1st Slam
Edmonton's Brendan Bottcher won his first-ever Slam title earlier Sunday afternoon by defeating Ontario's John Epping 6-3 in the men's final.
The team went undefeated throughout the week and looked in control in every game they played. The skip says this win could bode well for the future.
"It's huge. I think we've been a team searching for a big win and it felt like at the Canada Cup we were close and in Thunder Bay too," Bottcher said. "It gives us that last little bit of confidence we need right now."
WATCH | Brendan Bottcher wins his 1st Grand Slam of Curling title
The crucial victory comes just weeks before the Alberta provincial playdowns — which won't be easy. The level of competition there is always extremely high and Bottcher knows beating Kevin Koe to get out of the province and into the Brier is a tall order.
"I still feel like we're going to be the underdogs tomorrow," he said. "When you're playing against people like Koe, Gushue, Jacobs, they'll be the favourites until they're done."
This week's Slam win means Bottcher will play in the final event of the year, the Champions Cup in Saskatoon. Despite being so close so many times and finally breaking through this time, Bottcher knows they're going to have to continue to play at high level if they want to be in the same conversation as the best in the game today.
"You have to prove yourself for a few years in the a row and I think we're on the right track," he said.
Unlike the women's game where only two teams in the world have won Slams this year — Homan and Swedish skip Anna Hasselborg — Bottcher's win marked the fifth different men's team to win this year, point to the parity in the men's game right now.