Lawes, Morris expect mixed doubles curling to 'blow up'
Canadian gold medallists Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris hope their victory in mixed doubles curling will attract a new generation to the faster-paced, more athletic variation of the beloved Canadian sport.
The pair defeated the defending world champions from Switzerland to win the first-ever Olympic gold in mixed doubles curling on Tuesday. They say they’ve been caught up in a whirlwind of media requests and mandatory doping checks ever since, but they’re embracing the attention in hopes that it helps them grow their sport at home and abroad.
“Hopefully we can inspire some new curlers,” Lawes told CTV’s Genevieve Beauchemin in Pyeongchang. She predicts mixed curling will “blow up” in the years ahead, particularly among younger people.
“Internationally it’s already a huge success, and in Canada I think there’s a lot of traditional curling fans, but now we’re breaking the mould and we’re bringing in a lot more youthful audience,” she said.
Several curling club owners in Canada told The Canadian Press they’re already seeing more interest in the game mixed doubles variation of the game.
Morris suggests that mixed doubles is a more accessible version of curling, because it only requires two members to make up a team instead of the traditional four, and because a game doesn’t last as long. He also said it’s more athletically demanding.
“There’s so many positive factors,” he said. “If we’re going to see an influx of new young curlers in our country, it’s going to be because of mixed doubles.”
Among the more unexpected individuals to embrace the sport on Tuesday was Mr. T, who wrote several tweets praising the Canadians’ performance.
Like I said before, Curling is not as easy as it looks. I must be honest with you.. That little broom reminds me of my Swiffer Sweeper! I’m just saying...— Mr. T (@MrT) February 14, 2018
Anyways, I see curling as a finesse sport, more straight and controlled strength. Not brute strength, like when I was a bouncer, oh no!— Mr. T (@MrT) February 14, 2018