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Fleury still basking in the glow of her first Scotties win
2024-03-02
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Given the hectic curling schedule that she maintains, it seemed only fair to allow Tracy Fleury to enjoy a few days to catch her breath - yes, even after capturing the first ever Scotties Tournament of Hearts of her illustrious career.

Part of the Rachel Homan – Emma Miskew – Sarah Wilkes rink for a second year now, Fleury and company have enjoyed a season for the ages, complete with Grand Slam victories, just a small handful of losses and an 11-0 run last week while facing the very best female curlers in the country in Calgary.

“Last year was a lot of experimenting, everyone adjusting to new positions and getting comfortable and learning,” said Fleury, who will now proudly don the Maple Leaf at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Sydney (N.S.) later this month.

“In year two, we really settled in and are performing really well as a unit – and just finding a lot of consistency.”

Nowhere is that more evident than in the back-end tandem of Homan and Fleury, already acknowledged as two of the best female curlers in the world before joining forces – a merger which featured two very contrasting styles.

“We’re trying to blend those different styles,” said Fleury. “Rachel brings such an intensity and focus out on the ice and confidence that I find it rubs off on me and I find that I bring a calming influence out on the ice, so we complement each other well out there.”

In order to become the first local curler (to our knowledge) to win gold at either the Scotties or the Brier, Fleury and her rink needed to find a way to overcome legendary Manitoba skip Jennifer Jones for a third time in well under a week.

"It's always a little bit of a weird feeling being undefeated going into the final but you try not to overthink it, try to use it more as a confidence boost that we had not been beaten yet," said the extremely accommodating local accountant.

"We've had some really great battles with Jennifer's team - and they were playing really well," Fleury added. "It was an exciting game with lots of rocks in play and came right down to the wire."

It did indeed.

Up 4-2 after eight ends, Team Homan would see their opponents score a pair to deadlock the contest, though the all-important hammer remained in their possession.

"In the middle of the game, there were a couple of key shots from our team by Rachel that kind of gave us a little bit of momentum, mid game," said Fleury. "But when Jenn's team got two in the ninth it was: oh, we're tied now and going down to the wire."

"It was definitely a little tense in that final end."

Yet as they have done time and time again this year, the Ontario foursome ranked second in the world calmly completed the task at hand.

"Confidence is definitely high right now and everyone on the team is playing really well at the same time, which really helps," noted Fleury.

Post-game, social media outlets proved to be a testament to just how well liked the local vice is by competitors, former teammates and fans of the sport, with a never-ending stream of congratulatory notes everywhere to be found.

Still, there are some that resonate a whole lot more with the 37 year old mother of one.

"My sister (Jennifer Wylie)," exclaimed Fleury, with notable excitement in her voice. "The support that I receive from her is so special. We competed together for so many years. That's why I enjoy the sport so much, from those early years, getting to get out on the ice with her."

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