Youth Olympic Games team announced!
Four young athletes selected for the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic mixed team; process for selecting mixed doubles team determined
Canada’s representatives at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in four-player mixed curling are confirmed, as is the process to determine the two athletes who will represent Canada in mixed doubles.
Chloe Fediuk of Edmonton, Owain Fisher of North River, N.S., Nathan Gray of Dartmouth, N.S., and Allie Iskiw of Edmonton, have been selected to represent Team Canada in four-player mixed curling at the fourth edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in Gangwon, South Korea from Jan. 19-Feb. 1, 2024.
Applications were open to all age-eligible Canadian curlers born between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2009, with the focus on participants competing at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island and 2023 Canadian Under-18 Curling Championships in Timmins, Ont.
Curling Canada assessed athletes based on their curling skills, performance, team dynamics and individual/team-play characteristics. Athletes also submitted essays on why they would like to compete at the Youth Olympic Games and how their participation in the event could impact their curling ambitions and development in Canada.
“There were exceptional applications from so many young and driven athletes across the country. It’s never an easy selection process, but these four athletes have already amassed so much experience and success at the highest level and are continuing to shape themselves into talented and motivated individuals both on and off the ice,” said Helen Radford, Curling Canada’s Manager of Youth Curling and NextGen. “I’m excited to begin training with these young athletes and I know they will represent Canada with passion, skill and pride.”
Radford will be the head coach of Canada’s mixed team at Gangwon 2024. She also coached the Canadian curling teams at the Lausanne 2020, Lillehammer 2016 and Innsbruck 2012 editions of the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Canada won mixed team gold in 2016 after a bronze in 2012. In 2020, Canadian Nathan Young joined with Laura Nagy of Hungary to win gold in the mixed NOC mixed doubles event under Radford’s guidance.
Fediuk and Iskiw are coming off a sensational curling season. The pair played second and lead, respectively, for Alberta at the Canada Winter Games, Canadian Under-18 Curling Championships and New Holland Canadian Under-21 Junior Curling Championships in 2023. They won silver at the Canada Winter Games and their team made history by being the first to earn gold at the Canadian Under-21 and Under-18 championships in the same season.
Fisher and Gray are also coming off an excellent curling season as teammates representing Nova Scotia. In 2023, Fisher, playing second, and Gray, playing third, earned gold at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. The pair also played for their province at the national Under-21 and Under-18 events. At the Canadian Under-18s, they earned bronze for the second consecutive year. They also made a quarterfinal appearance at the Under-21 event.
Positions for the players haven’t been assigned and will be determined following upcoming training camps leading up to the Games.
All four athletes, now Grade 12 students, will attend an on- and off-ice training camp at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton from Aug. 27-Sept. 4. Curling Canada will work with the athletes to provide other opportunities to train together around their existing junior curling schedules, which includes an appearance as Team Canada at the upcoming World Junior B Curling Championships for Fediuk and Iskiw as the reigning Under-21 champions.
Gangwon 2024 will mark the first time that the mixed doubles discipline will have a dedicated competition at the Winter YOG. This means Canada will send two additional curlers to the multi-sport games. At past YOG, after completing the mixed team event, all athletes would be paired with an athlete from a different nation and compete in a single-knockout mixed doubles event.
Curling Canada has selected four additional athletes and created two mixed doubles teams to join the training camp scheduled in Edmonton.
Lauren Evason (St. Adolphe, Man.) and Jaxon Hiebert (Sherwood Park, Alta.) will form one mixed doubles team. The other team comprises Cailey Locke (Conception Bay South, N.L.) and Simon Perry (Portugal Cove, N.L.).
After the training camp, the mixed doubles teams will play a best-of-seven series for the opportunity to be nominated to Team Canada in the mixed doubles competition at Gangwon 2024.
“These four athletes in the mixed doubles pool are skilled at both the four-player game and mixed doubles. However, as coaches, we’re yet to assess their skill in the mixed doubles discipline. This training camp and playoff format will help prepare our soon-to-be-named mixed doubles team and prepare them for the path to represent Canada,” said Radford.
The Canadian mixed doubles head coach is Jeff Hoffart. Hoffart has been the team leader for teams competing at the World Junior Curling Championships since 2020, has worked with various high-performance curling teams as a coach, and attended world championships with Team Canada.
The curling teams will have a familiar face leading them as Team Canada’s Chef de Mission at Gangwon 2024. Two-time Olympian, world champion, and three-time Canadian champion Lisa Weagle was named Chef de Mission earlier this year.
Representing Canada on the world stage is a privilege and honour of a lifetime, and I’m thrilled for each of these exceptional curling athletes as they begin their Youth Olympic Games journey. I wish them all the best this upcoming season as they train and prepare for Gangwon and look forward to cheering them on,” Weagle said.
The YOG curling venue is the Gangneung Curling Centre. It most notably hosted curling events at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Most recently, it hosted the 2023 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.
The YOG mixed team competition runs Jan. 19-25, followed by mixed doubles Jan. 26-Feb. 1.
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.