Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

St. Vital club members awash with Oly pride

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Annette Lafreniere, her husband, Dennis (left) and Les Oliver join in the celebration at the St. Vital Curling Club Thursday.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Annette Lafreniere, her husband, Dennis (left) and Les Oliver join in the celebration at the St. Vital Curling Club Thursday. Photo Store

It was another banner day for the St. Vital Curling Club.

But this time it felt different.

Watching the feared Jennifer Jones foursome, which includes third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen, claim an Olympic gold medal with a 6-3 win over Sweden in the women's curling final in Sochi early morning led to more than just a celebration at the local curling hangout.

"She's won so much over the years we just expected her to do it again," said Amy Passmore, one of hundreds at the St. Vital club to watch Jones claim her golden greatness. "I knew she would pull through. No doubt in my mind."

Members new and old gushed with pride over the accomplishment, of course, cheering rabidly as Jones was able to blow open a tight, tense game with a steal of two in the ninth end. But after the 'Go Jen Go!' chants and an impromptu singing of O Canada, the party quickly turned reflective.

Jones wins. Like she usually does.

With four Canadian crowns, a world title and now an Olympic gold, Jones has cemented her legacy as one of the country's top women's curlers. Not surprising then that those who enjoyed the emotion of the gold-medal game in the second-floor lounge at the hometown club spoke of her like proud parents, relieved their favourite daughter came though victorious once again.

"I don't know how they compete at that level. I would be a nervous wreck," offered Raelene Robertson, who's been a member at St. Vital for 12 years. "They work so hard at it and set an incredible example for the children.

Wearing pants printed with red-and-white maple leaves, Guy Beaudry, junior curling director at the St. Vital club, said it would be impossible to determine what kind of impact Jones' gold medal will have on his program.

"She's been a great representative for us, helping out with our junior program," Beaudry said. "I really just can't say enough about her and what she's meant to our program.

"Every time she's on TV in a final I get 15 calls from kids between the ages of 5-15 looking to curl. She's done so much for us as an ambassador of the game."

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 21, 2014 C4

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