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Canada won’t be bringing home medals from the 2021 mixed doubles curling world championships in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Kerri Einarson and Brad Gushue fell 7-4 in the bronze-medal match to Sweden’s Almida de Val and Oskar Eriksson on Sunday.
Gushue, from St. John’s, N.L., and Einarson, from Camp Morton, Man., concluded round-robin play at 7-2. They were trying to become the first Canadian team to gain gold in the event’s 13-year history.
Canada has reached the podium (two silver, one bronze) at the last three editions of the competition.
Joanne Courtney and Reid Carruthers won silver in 2017, Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres took bronze in 2018 and Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant won silver in 2019. Last year’s championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Einarson and Gushue won’t be coming home empty handed.
The 2021 event serves as the main qualifier for mixed doubles at the Beijing Olympics, and the Canadian duo secured an Olympic berth for Canada last Friday.
“It’s been an honor to represent Canada twice on the world stage,” Einarson said. “We gave it our absolute all this week and I couldn’t be more proud of us earning Canada the Olympic spot. We fought hard every game. We may not have played out best at times, but we also never gave up.”
Gushue echoed his teammates sentiments.
“I’m very proud of how Kerri and I battled throughout the week. There was no doubt we were tired and not at our best, but we left it all on the ice and that’s all you could ask for,” Gushue said. “We’re disappointed not to earn a medal, but are proud to have earned the Olympic spot for Canada.”
Scotland, Italy, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland also locked up Olympic spots.
Scotland’s Bruce Mouat and Jennifer Dodds defeated Norway’s Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten for the gold medal on Sunday at the Curl Aberdeen facility.
The seventh berth went to the Czech Republic on Saturday afternoon when Tomas Paul and Zuzana Paulova posted an 8-6 win over Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo of the United States.
The two remaining spots in the 10-team Olympic field will be filled at a last-chance qualifier next season. China gets an automatic Olympic berth as the host country. Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes won gold when mixed doubles made its Olympic debut at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.