The first Olympic Qualification Event for mixed doubles is underway in Leeuwarden, Netherlands—the first major curling championship to be hosted in the country.
The town’s Elfstedenhal facility will also host the third edition of the OQE for men’s and women’s four-player teams, following past qualifiers hosted in Fuessen, Germany in 2013 and Pilsen, Czech Republic in 2017.
The U.S. entry of Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys, U.S. Trials champions last month, started with solid wins over Japan and Estonia. They scored a big three-ender against Japan with a sixth-end power play and started the Estonian match with a steal of four.
Korea shares first place with the U.S. in Group B at 2-0, with Finland and Japan next in line at 1-1.
14 mixed doubles teams are competing for the two final places in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games lineup. Eleven of these earned a place from their ranking at the 2021 World Mixed Doubles Championship, while the remaining places feature the top three teams that qualified from the Pre-Olympic Qualification Event that took place in Erzurum, Turkey in October.
The 14 teams are divided into two sections:
Group A: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Spain, Turkey
Group B: Estonia, Finland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, New Zealand, United States
Of these, Denmark, Latvia and Turkey qualified from the Pre-Olympic Qualification Event.
The two groups will each play a single round robin. At the end of those rounds there will be a ranking established for the top three places in each group.
The teams ranked first in each group will receive a bye to the playoffs. The teams ranked second and third in each group will play in qualification games (A2 vs. B3 and B2 vs. A3). The winners of those qualification games will then play the group winners, with A1 playing the winner of B2 vs. A3 and B1 meeting the winner of A2 vs. B3.
The two winners of those games will qualify for Beijing from this event, concluding the mixed doubles qualification process for Beiging.