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Roar of the Rings

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Officer, Jones look toward next quest: Olympic gold

Posted: 12/7/2013 11:23 PM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 12/7/2013 11:45 PM | Updates

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Results provided by: Canadian Curling Association
For full scoring information, go to the Canadian Curling Association Site.

They started playing together as teens and grew into almost every success together, becoming Canadian champions, world champions, and mothers.

Now, Jill Officer and Jennifer Jones will move into the last undiscovered part of their curling dream: They are now Olympic athletes. They will wear red jackets in Sochi, like the ones they donned after claiming victory at the MTS Centre on Saturday. The ones that say "Canada" in big clear letters on the front. They put them on in front of so many loved ones: For Officer, that group included her parents and husband, her brother and her best friend.

After the win, she ran over and gave her father and her husband a hug, and that’s when it all began to sink in.

"To play at home, in front of all these people, and to have all this support and all our extended families here, it’s just incredible," said Officer, 38, the ecstasy of the win over Ontario’s Sherry Middaugh still playing across her face. "We’re just so thrilled, and we just really hope that we can represent Canada really well."

If the foursome’s efforts at the Roar of the Rings are any indication, they will.

The Jones rink ran dominant through the Olympic trials, and the final could be one of the finest games of Officer’s career. She curled a superb 99 per cent on 20 shots, including a magnificent triple takeout in the first end to help carry her rink out of a tough spot.

"I felt like I couldn’t wait to play today," she said. "I just wanted to get out here and throw, and it worked... we were hoping the crowd would be on our side, and I’m just glad I could give them something to cheer about."

And so begins the latest chapter of a curling partnership that’s lasted most of Jones and Officer’s lives. The pair first played together in 1992, when they were in their mid-teens, and won the Canadian junior championship together in 1994. Curling wasn’t yet in the Olympics, so they didn’t talk about it much back then.

But they were watching in 1998, when Sandra Schmirler won the first Olympic women’s gold.

"You kind of start to think about it, but it’s a long road," Officer said. "Look at how long. We’ve been playing competitively since then, and here we are, 15 years later and we’re finally here."

Along the way, Officer and Jones became "like sisters," Officer said. They even became parents around the same time, as Jones’ daughter turned a year old last month, and Officer’s daughter Camryn will turn two years old on Thursday. That connection showed in one small moment after Saturday’s victory: While Jones stood in front of a gaggle of cameras, Officer slipped over to smooth her skip’s hair into place.

"We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs together over the years," Officer said. "I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else. I just have all the belief in the world in her, and in the whole team, and I’m just so happy."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

  • Skip Jennifer Jones delivers a stone.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones delivers a stone.

  • Skip Jennifer Jones (centre left) calls on her sweeper Jill Officer (right) during action as Sherry Middaugh (right) looks on.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones (centre left) calls on her sweeper Jill Officer (right) during action as Sherry Middaugh (right) looks on.

  • Skip Sherry Middaugh reacts to a shot.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Sherry Middaugh reacts to a shot.

  • Sherry Middaugh's second Lee Merklinger (left) and lead Leigh Armstrong react to a shot.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Sherry Middaugh's second Lee Merklinger (left) and lead Leigh Armstrong react to a shot.

  • Skip Jennifer Jones celebrates scoring three against Sherry Middaugh in the second end.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones celebrates scoring three against Sherry Middaugh in the second end.

  • Jennifer Jones high-fives Jill Officer (left) after a shot.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Jennifer Jones high-fives Jill Officer (left) after a shot.

  • Skip Jennifer Jones (centre right) and her team (from left) Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen and Kaitlyn Lawes watch the replay of her three-point shot in the second end.

    John Woods / The Canadian Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones (centre right) and her team (from left) Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen and Kaitlyn Lawes watch the replay of her three-point shot in the second end.

  • Fans cheer on Jennifer Jones and her squad.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Fans cheer on Jennifer Jones and her squad.

  • Skip Sherry Middaugh (front) lines up a shot as Jennifer Jones watches.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Sherry Middaugh (front) lines up a shot as Jennifer Jones watches.

  • Skip Jennifer Jones celebrates after a shot.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones celebrates after a shot.

  • Skip Sherry Middaugh delivers a stone.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Sherry Middaugh delivers a stone.

  • Skip Sherry Middaugh calls to her sweepers during action against Jennifer Jones in the women's final.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Sherry Middaugh calls to her sweepers during action against Jennifer Jones in the women's final.

  • Skip Sherry Middaugh  reacts to a shot during action against Jennifer Jones in the women���s final of Roar of the Rings curling at the MTS Centre on Sat., Dec. 7, 2013. Photo by Jason Halstead/Winnipeg Free Press

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Sherry Middaugh reacts to a shot during action against Jennifer Jones in the women���s final of Roar of the Rings curling at the MTS Centre on Sat., Dec. 7, 2013. Photo by Jason Halstead/Winnipeg Free Press

  • Fans cheer on Jennifer Jones and her team as they defeated Sherry Middaugh in the women���s final of Roar of the Rings curling at the MTS Centre on Sat., Dec. 7, 2013 to win the right to represent Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February. Photo by Jason Halstead/Winnipeg Free Press

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Fans cheer on Jennifer Jones and her team as they defeated Sherry Middaugh in the women���s final of Roar of the Rings curling at the MTS Centre on Sat., Dec. 7, 2013 to win the right to represent Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February. Photo by Jason Halstead/Winnipeg Free Press

  • Skip Jennifer Jones calls to her sweepers.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones calls to her sweepers.

  • Skip Jennifer Jones shoots against Sherry Middaugh in the women���s final of Roar of the Rings curling at the MTS Centre on Sat., Dec. 7, 2013. Photo by Jason Halstead/Winnipeg Free Press

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones shoots against Sherry Middaugh in the women���s final of Roar of the Rings curling at the MTS Centre on Sat., Dec. 7, 2013. Photo by Jason Halstead/Winnipeg Free Press

  • Jennifer Jones celebrates after defeating Sherry Middaugh in the women's final of Roar of the Rings curling at the MTS Centre Saturday.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Jennifer Jones celebrates after defeating Sherry Middaugh in the women's final of Roar of the Rings curling at the MTS Centre Saturday.

  • Skip Jennifer Jones celebrates beating Sherry Middaugh in the women's final at the 2013 Roar of the Rings Canadian Olympic Curling Trials.

    John Woods / The Canadian Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones celebrates beating Sherry Middaugh in the women's final at the 2013 Roar of the Rings Canadian Olympic Curling Trials.

  • Skip Jennifer Jones (centre left) and Kaitlyn Lawes (left) hug as Jill Officer (centre right) and Dawn McEwen join the celebration.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones (centre left) and Kaitlyn Lawes (left) hug as Jill Officer (centre right) and Dawn McEwen join the celebration.

  • Skip Jennifer Jones waves to the crowd.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    Skip Jennifer Jones waves to the crowd.

  • From left: skip Jennifer Jones and her team, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen show off the spoils of victory.

    Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

    From left: skip Jennifer Jones and her team, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen show off the spoils of victory.

History

Updated on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 11:45 PM CST: Corrects age of Officer's child.

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