Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sealed with a drink

Right from the start, Overton-Clapham and Jones felt that team thing

  • Print

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. -- They first met for a drink in a Boston Pizza joint in south Winnipeg. It was April 2004.

"It was an instant kind of thing right from the start," one of them recalled. "We knew what each other was thinking without even asking."

Just one drink was all it took, in fact.

"As soon as we sat down," the other agreed, "we knew it was going to work."

So began the relationship of Cathy Overton-Clapham and skip Jennifer Jones, a curling marriage that has so far spawned four Canadian championships and one world title.

Perhaps a second worlds is in the works. The Jones foursome advanced to Friday night's Page 1-2 playoff game against Germany's Andrea Schopp at the Credit Union iPlex.

A victory would have put Team Canada directly into Sunday's final but a 6-3 loss to Schopp sent them to today's semifinal against the winner of the Page 3-4 game between Scotland and Sweden.

Although Jones is the face of the Canadian team -- she's on tissue boxes and credit card commercials between ends and is swarmed by media after each game -- it's third Overton-Clapham, just turned 40, who would need Mike Holmes to build her a trophy case.

In fact, Overton-Clapham has been in the unique position to physically bridge the gap between two Manitoba women's curling powerhouses -- Connie Laliberte in the 1990s and Jones. In the process, Cathy O, as she is affectionately known in curling circles, has now been to 12 Canadian championships, winning five times (once with Laliberte in 1995) and has a world title in 2008 with Jones.

"I never really look at the whole picture -- how many times we've been or how many times we've won," Overton-Clapham said the other day. "We don't do that at all. But we do look at the jewelry, because it's quite pretty to look at."

Ah, the jewelry, the cache of the women's championships. Overton-Clapham has enough bling to make Flavor Flav blush.

"When you win provincials, you get a necklace with four hearts," she explained. "And each year you win the provincials, you get a diamond in the heart. When you win the Canadian championship, you get a diamond ring with a quarter-carat. And if you win again, you get a half-carat, and so on."

For her fifth Canadian championship, Overton-Clapham received a bracelet with five-and-a-half carats. Oh, and don't forget the rings. Three sapphire rings with Laliberte and Janet Arnott (now the Team Canada coach) and a ruby ring with Jones for placing in the top three at nationals.

Don't forget, too, that Overton-Clapham also skipped a Manitoba team to the Canadian junior title in 1989 and won a bronze at the world juniors in 1990.

What does this all mean? Well, for starters, it means Overton-Clapham's easy smile and little-girl voice mask a very grown-up competitor.

"Curling's in Cathy's blood," Arnott offered. "She lives, breathes it. It's not like she doesn't have other priorities, like her family (husband Mike and kids Andrew,11, and Mackenzie, 8), but curling is her real passion and she's a fierce competitor. I think those things go hand in hand. That's why she's such a great player.

"All the girls have a different kind of fire, but Cathy is extremely competitive at anything she does, not just curling," Arnott said.

"Even if it's just a fun thing, we could be cycling or working out and Cathy has to be the best. None of us can be better. It drives her and it's very obvious."

Go figure that when Cathy met Jennifer, the connection was immediate. Said Overton-Clapham of that first meeting:

"I knew she (Jones) was a pretty determined person and we were kind of after the same thing. We talked about the way we approached the game. We were both very similar. You just kind of know when you meet someone."

Yet for all the rings in their collection, it's the quest for the Olympic rings in Sochi, Russia, in 2014 that stand to keep Jones and Overton-Clapham together for a while yet.

"I can't see anything changing," Overton-Clapham said. "As long as we're still playing at our best and keeping up with everyone else, I don't see any reason why not.

"It is tough with the family, but they're used to it," the third added.

"They don't know any better. I think they'd be confused if I wasn't away every other weekend (during the season) and they didn't get to come to a Scotties or a worlds to watch.

"So I think it would be a lost thing now in the family if that was to happen. It was a family goal to try and go to the Olympics (in Vancouver) this year, so I think it would be an odd thing for them (not to have her curl)."

One drink in a pizza joint and the rest has been history that's still being written. Who knew?

Funny, Jones has a reputation of being a bit of a goodie-two-shoes.

Turns out, she's had a pretty good vice all along.

randy.turner@freepress.mb.ca

SCHOPP BEATS CANADIANS, EARNS BERTH IN FINAL D5

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2010 D1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Willy wants to get back to winning

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A pelican comes in for a landing Wednesday afternoon on the Red River at Lockport, Manitoba - Standup photo- June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Canada Goose cools off in a water pond Monday afternoon at Brookside Cemetary- See Bryksa’s Goose a day Challenge– Day 27-June 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

About Randy Turner

While attending Boissevain High School in the late 1970’s, Randy Turner one day read an account of a Winnipeg Jets game in the Free Press when it dawned on him: "Really, you can get paid to watch sports?"

Turner later graduated with a spectacularly mediocre 2.3 GPA from Red River Community College’s Creative Communications program. 

After jobs at the Stonewall Argus and Selkirk Journal, he began working on the Rural page for the Free Press in 1987. Several years later, he realized his dream of watching sports for a living covering the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Bombers.

In 2001, Turner became a general sports columnist, where he watched Canada win its first Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey in 50 years at Salt Lake, then watched them win again in Vancouver in 2010.

He also watched everything from high school hockey and volleyball championship to several Grey Cups, NHL finals and World Junior hockey tournaments.

In the fall of 2011, Turner became a general features writer for the paper. But he still watches way too much sports.

Turner has been nominated for three National Newspaper Awards in sports writing.

Poll

Which Jets prospect has the best chance of making NHL team this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google