Bad burn: Rachel Homan criticized for poor curling etiquette

Canadian skip causes controversy by removing burnt rock in eventual loss to Denmark

CBC Sports

Canada's women's curling team led by Rachel Homan is off to a historically bad start — going 0-3 to start the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

To add insult to injury, the Ottawa skip has come under fire for what many perceive to be a display of poor sportsmanship. 

In Friday's 9-8 loss to Denmark, Homan removed a burned rock that was slightly touched by a Danish sweeper's broom as it came to rest in the house in the fifth end. The decision has drawn criticism from Canadian fans. 

"I think that was a rash move to take it off," CBC Sports analyst, and 1998 Olympic women's curling champion, Joan McCusker said during the broadcast. "They should have left it in play. It doesn't look good on you."

While it is the opposing team's decision on what happens to the rock once it's burned, Homan could have decided to leave it, as it didn't influence play — curling etiquette usually favours this approach.

Homan went on to earn four points in that end. 

"It's quite unusual. If it had been burned out there in the middle of the sheet, any team would have done that. But right there in the house, the rock had just about stopped. That never happens," Danish skip Madeleine Dupont told CBC Sports' Devin Heroux. "I was thinking 'I'm pretty sure karma will hit you at some point.'"

It appears Dupont was right, as her team made an extra-end comeback after Homan couldn't convert on a takeout with the hammer. It was Denmark's first victory of the tournament.

VIDEO | Karma returns to burn Rachel Homan

Homan didn't seem fazed by the criticism. 

"They burnt the rock," Homan told Heroux. "As the non-offending team we can remove it."

The Canadians, who are the only winless team through round-robin play, are at risk of missing the playoffs altogether. The whole debacle hasn't garnered much fan support online.

Canada will have a shot at righting its sinking ship Saturday at 6:05 a.m. ET against the United States.