Partly cloudy

Winnipeg, MB

27°c Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Olympics

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Manitoba's golden girls

Jones, Lawes, Officer and McEwen make history in Sochi

Posted: 02/21/2014 1:08 AM | Comments: 0

Advertisement

  • Print

SOCHI, Russia — Give her a lake. Name a curling rink after her. Change the name of a street and give her the key to the city. Jennifer Jones is an Olympic champion and she’s Winnipeg’s golden curler.

 She’s not alone. Manitoba-born Jill Officer and Kaitlyn Lawes as well as adopted Winnipegger Dawn McEwen are all gold medallists too and the greatest in the world at their sport.

They move right to the top of the pantheon of Winnipeg athletes. Gold medallists. In curling. It’s quintessential Manitoba.

These gold medals enter our history and our culture. The Guess Who. The BDI. Kenny Ploen. Anders and Ulf. Teemu. Portage and Main. Cindy Klassen. Sals. Gimli. Clara Hughes. The Jets leaving. The Jets coming back. Lake Winnipeg. The Forks. Lake Manitoba. Grain.

'I never thought we would be sitting here today when she came up to me at the High-lander Curling Club and called me over to the Coke machine and asked me if I wanted to curl with her' - Jill Officer

When we ask ourselves what does Winnipeg mean to us? This golden moment will be part of the recesses of our minds. A forever memory for so many of us.

Curling is our game. It defines us in so many ways and now we can claim a special place in the sport. Our province produced a gold-medal winning team. Quite possibly the greatest team in the history of the women’s game.

Certainly Jones is in the conversation as the greatest skip in women’s curling.

Four Canadian titles, a world championship and now an Olympic gold medal, all won in the most competitive era of the sport. Today’s elite curlers train year-round and the best in the world are professionals where curling comes first. Jones isn’t competing against part-timers at the Olympics.

"She’s absolutely 100 per cent the greatest ever. I’ve thought that for a long time," said Officer. "There’s a reason I curl with Jennifer. She’s motivated me over the years, made me a better player and I owe a lot to her. She’s determined, she’s a leader."

Officer and Jones got together when they were teenagers and the two marvelled at where they stood on this day. Atop the Olympic podium.

"That’s a lot of history to talk about. I never thought we would be sitting here today when she came up to me at the Highlander Curling Club and called me over to the Coke machine and asked me if I wanted to curl with her," said Officer.

Jones grew up in front of the eyes of Manitobans. She’s represented our city and our province around the world since she was a teenager. She’s done it with grace and honour and dignity. And don’t forget excellence.

"We achieved this moment for so many people in our lives. All of our friends and families, the city of Winnipeg, all of Manitoba and Canada and that is priceless really. There’s no bigger moment or feeling in the world than that," said Jones. "I couldn’t believe it. To have all of Canada behind us, not the pressure of it but the excitement of having all those people cheering us on and people in Winnipeg cheering us on, sitting there on the edge of their seats and we did it for them too."

Little girls have had a hero in Jones to look up to in curling for a long time. She’s provided an example of how an athlete should work, commit and compete. Manitoba children getting their start in curling now have an Olympian to emulate. One can hear kids fighting over who gets to pretend to be Jones in their scrub games in curling rinks all over the province. All over the country. All over the world.

Jennifer Jones is gold today. We already knew she was. Now it’s written down forever.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless

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.