Homan in 'deepest black hole' following mixed doubles curling loss at Beijing Games

Support from the curling community came pouring in Wednesday after Rachel Homan said she was in "the deepest of black holes" after missing the playoffs at the Beijing Games.

Homan, teammate Morris suffered 8-7 extra-end defeat to Italy needing win to move on to semifinals

Canada's Rachel Homan, left, said she avoided social media since she and partner John Morris missed out on the medals at the Beijing Olympics, admitting in a tweet that she was having a hard time with the loss. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images)

Support from the curling community came pouring in Wednesday after Rachel Homan said she was in "the deepest of black holes" after missing the playoffs at the Beijing Games.

"I just want to give her a hug honestly, she has nothing to feel ashamed of," said Canadian women's team vice Kaitlyn Lawes. "She's a two-time Olympian and worked her butt off."

Homan and mixed doubles partner John Morris dropped an 8-7, extra-end decision to Italy last week. The loss — confirmed on a measurement by the smallest of margins— dashed their hopes of reaching the semifinals.

The three-time national champion said she avoided social media since missing the cut at the Ice Cube, admitting in a tweet that she was having a hard time with the loss.

"Being completely honest because I know many athletes have felt this but I'm in the deepest of black holes wishing we could have found another centimetre for Canada," Homan said of the measurement. "Know that I'm cheering hard for every athlete in Beijing right now but personally struggling beyond words."

Homan ended her self-imposed social media exile to congratulate long-track speedskater Ivanie Blondin on her gold medal in the women's team pursuit on Tuesday.

"I've been completely off of social media, but when your childhood best friend realizes her lifelong dream, I had to send her the biggest f... Ya," said Homan.

Homan said in another tweet that although she's struggling with the loss, she was still honoured to represent Canada at the Olympics.

"I never take the Maple Leaf for granted and am grateful for the chance to fight for you all," she tweeted, adding a heart and a Canadian flag emoji.

'Love the vulnerability'

Homan, who won a world title in 2017, missed the podium in her previous Olympic appearance in 2018, falling short in the women's team competition at the PyeongChang Games in South Korea.

Joanne Courtney, who plays lead on Homan's four-player team, said she's heartbroken for her teammate and "is gutted that she's feeling so low."

"I love the vulnerability there to say it and I love how brave she was for coming on to congratulate her childhood friend," Courtney said from Toronto. "For Rachel to put herself out there like that is admirable. It's such a tough situation."

Courtney, who's working as a curling broadcaster for the CBC, added that an Olympic loss can be crushing.

"That disappointment on that highest level, your body processes it like a trauma eventually," she said. "It's a visceral reaction. I hope that she has lots of support around her right now."

Importance of perspective 

Homan and Morris were selected to be mixed doubles representatives last month after the cancellation of the playdowns in late December due to COVID-19.

Brad Gushue, the 2006 Olympic champ, won the Canadian men's team berth for Beijing last November. Jennifer Jones, the 2014 Olympic champion, took the women's team spot.

"This is what we've worked a lifetime for so it's hard to not realize those dreams," said Jones. "It's hard to be disappointed but perspective always comes. It just takes a little bit of time. I know Rachel will get there.

"She just has to lean on the people that care about her the most. Just remember perspective and remember all the great moments that she's had in her curling career because there's so been many that there's a lot to lean on."

Homan was not immediately available for a phone interview. The 32-year-old resident of Beaumont, Alta., is also a two-time Canada Cup champion.

"You were born awesome — not because of your medal count — but because you get to live this magical ride," six-time national women's champion Colleen Jones said on Twitter. Jones is in Beijing as part of CBC's Olympic broadcasts. "Your greatest gold medal? Your beautiful family (and dog). This too shall pass — and you'll rise again."

National team program manager Elaine Dagg-Jackson said Curling Canada offers support for athletes via its mental health and wellness portfolio.

Counselling, sport psychology and other services are also available, she added, noting the association aims to keep communication flowing during and after big events like the Games.

"My heart goes out to Rachel as always," she said. "I know many people will reach out to her because she was so brave in sharing her thoughts.

"And honestly, I think that's a really great first step on the road to feeling better is share your feelings and let the love pour in."

WATCH | Canada falls to Italy by millimetre in mixed doubles curling:

Italy eliminates Canada's Homan and Morris in extra end

8 months ago
Duration 13:06
Canadian mixed doubles curling duo Rachel Homan and John Morris' hopes of an Olympic title defence came to a sudden halt on Monday in Beijing with an 8-7 extra end loss to Italy's Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner.

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