Canadian Jennifer Jones can now add a new title to her impressive curling resume: Olympic legend. Jennifer Jones has made Olympic curling history as her team made it successfully through round robin play undefeated, making her squad the only female squad to do so. The distinction of going undefeated through round robin play also belongs to another Canadian; Kevin Martin, who brought Canada the gold in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Jones is the first female since late curling great Sandra Schmirler brought Canada Olympic curling gold home for the women in 1998.
Coincidentally, Jones also matched Martin’s record of going 11-0 throughout the Olympic curling tournament, and as Jones realized she had nailed the final shot perfectly, she let out a jubilant cry, jumping in the air when the stone hit Sweden’s perfectly, knocking it out of the rings and landing her squad the gold medal. The 39-year-old lawyer and her team high fived each other and embraced the Swedish team – the 2010 Olympic gold medal winners – at the end of the match. It was an exact replay of the 2010 Olympics, except it was Sweden who was celebrating while Cheryl Bernard and her team tried to smile about the silver medal.
Jones skipped a near-perfect game, which saw her taking advantage of a poor shot by Sweden’s Maria Prtytz and stealing the ninth end for two points. While the disappointment was palpable on the Swede’s face, Jones and her team – lead Dawn McEwen, second Jill Officer and third Kaitlyn Lawes – remained focused, knowing that the game was not 100 percent theirs until the Swedish squad had been completely dispatched. When the last stone was knocked out of the rings, Jones had joined the ranks of Olympic curling legends like Schmirler and Martin.
Also watching the match were 130 or so members of the curling faithful at Jones’ home rink at the St. Vital Curling Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and when they realized Jones and her squad had snagged gold, they erupted into a cowbell-ringing, cheering frenzy. Among those in attendance was Manitoba premier Greg Selinger, who said that the win ensured the game of curling would not only bring further attention to the sport in Canada, but also elevate Manitoba’s profile. The gold medal win is not all that Team Jones will have to look forward to; as residents of Manitoba living in or near Winnipeg, the provincial capital, Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz will be presenting the team with outstanding achievement award medallions at a later date upon their return.
For now, though, Jones says the Olympic experience has been incredible, and notes that she and her teammates have had an Olympic experience that have gone far beyond expectations. One of the more memorable experiences for Jones may well have been the shot of her 15-month-old daughter Isabella on the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press, holding a banner that said, “Go Mommy Go!” In addition to keeping that photo for the scrapbook, Jones and her team can look forward to a hero’s welcome on their return to Winnipeg. First, though, there will be the gold medal ceremony in Sochi, where Canadians everywhere will be watching Team Jones sing O Canada as Jennifer Jones becomes an Olympic curling legend officially.
By Christina St-Jean