Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Reality starts to sink in for curlers

The dream won, Trials victors wake up to don red jackets

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Team Jones -- Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen and alternate  Kristin Wall -- and Team Jacobs skip Brad Jacobs officially got the nod as Canadian  Olympians from Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut Monday.

PHOTOS BY KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Team Jones -- Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen and alternate Kristin Wall -- and Team Jacobs skip Brad Jacobs officially got the nod as Canadian Olympians from Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut Monday. Photo Store

In the hours after Jennifer Jones skipped her team to an Olympic-clinching victory, the highlights beamed across TSN, seen by thousands of Canadians.

By Monday morning, the Winnipeg skip herself still wasn't one of them. After winning the Roar of the Rings curling trials on Saturday night, her weekend became a whirlwind of meetings and press. Thirty-six hours later, her rink hadn't had a chance to really celebrate with their families -- or even to fire up the PVR. "I haven't seen us win yet," Jones said. "I gotta do that, at least a couple of times."

'There is no other colour. We are going for gold, both teams. That's it' -- Team Canada men's skip Brad Jacobs

Nonetheless, the reality is beginning to set in that Jennifer Jones, lead Dawn McEwen, second Jill Officer and third Kaitlyn Lawes are Olympians, as is Ontario's Team Brad Jacobs. At a ceremony at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Monday morning, Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut fitted them into their jackets for Sochi: bright red with sharp black sleeves, emblazoned with a crisp maple leaf.

"I don't know if I'll take it off," Jones said. "I might sleep with it tonight. Not many people can say their dreams have come true, and ours have come true over and over again. And then the biggest one just came true on the weekend."

What comes next is more hard work than dream. With the Olympics two months away, Jones and Jacobs will turn their attention to getting their rinks ready to compete. Team Jones will fly to Calgary this weekend for an orientation, then they will train and enter a key competitions. They won't play in the provincial women's championship in Virden next month, since the national Scotties tournament conflicts with the Olympics. "But we're okay," Jones said, with a grin.

The Jacobs squad -- which includes Jacobs' cousins Ryan Harnden at lead and E.J. Harnden at second, and Winnipegger Ryan Fry at third -- will go home to Sault Ste. Marie tonight, where doubtless a party awaits. Then it'll be time to get to work: it helps that the reigning Brier champions are on a roll right now, having soared unbeaten through the Olympic trials, the first team to do so since curling was added to the Olympic program in 1998.

But Jacobs hasn't forgotten that his rink took silver at the 2013 world championships, after falling in the final to Sweden's Niklas Edin. The skip has a different plan for Sochi. "We will do everything in our power to win gold for Canada," Jacobs said in a prepared statement on Monday, then went off-the-cuff. "There is no other colour, I just want to put that out there. There is no other colour. We are going for gold, both teams, that's it."

Hey, no pressure or anything.

"I think we like pressure, a little bit," Jacobs said. "That's where we perform our best. I wish we could just jump on a plane and go play right now... if we don't win gold, it'll be a huge disappointment. And I'm pretty sure if our team plays like we can, it'll all fall into place."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 10, 2013 D5

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