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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hometown hopefuls: Manitobans in Sochi

Manitobans heading to Sochi excel on ice

Posted: 02/1/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 02/1/2014 9:52 AM | Updates

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Jennifer Jones , Kaitlyn  Lawes, Jill Officer  and Dawn McEwen: Hometown hopefuls

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Jennifer Jones , Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen: Hometown hopefuls Photo Store

A closer look at the 11 Manitobans going for gold in Sochi.

Jennifer Jones

SPORT: CURLING

BORN: WINNIPEG

AGE: 39

OLYMPIC STORY: One of the most-decorated curlers in the history of the sport, Jones needs a gold in Sochi to bolster the argument she is one of the best to ever throw a rock in the women's game. A Canadian junior title, four Canadian women's championships and gold at the worlds, Jones is on the verge of capping off a brilliant curling story. Now a mother and well into a successful career as a corporate lawyer, Jones has seemingly done it all in her life. A gold medal at the Olympics will take her over the top.

Kaitlyn Lawes

SPORT: CURLING

BORN: WINNIPEG

AGE: 25

OLYMPIC STORY: Lawes was a huge star in junior curling and was plucked from her previous team to revitalize the Jennifer Jones team. The gamble helped get this team to the Olympics, but now her ability to make the big shot under pressure will be under scrutiny in the pursuit of a gold medal.

Jill Officer

SPORT: CURLING

BORN: WINNIPEG

AGE: 38

Olympic story: Officer's curling career has almost always been linked to that of Jennifer Jones. They will try to cap their 23-year association with a gold medal in Sochi. Officer has won a Canadian junior title, four Scott Tournament of Hearts championships and one world banner with Jones. Gold at the Olympics is the only mountain they have left to climb.

Dawn McEwen

SPORT: CURLING

BORN: OTTAWA

AGE: 33

OLYMPIC STORY: McEwen moved to Winnipeg in 2007 to join Jennifer Jones in the pursuit of this very moment. They came up short in 2010, but forged a strong bond as curlers and vowed to continue the chase. A three-time Canadian and two-time world champion, McEwen would love to add gold at the Olympics to her resumé as one of the world's best in her sport.

Ryan Fry

SPORT: CURLING

BORN: WINNIPEG

AGE: 35

OLYMPIC STORY: This curling nomad has given his life to the sport and is now on the verge of making his sacrifices pay off. Fry has represented three provinces at the Brier and won his first in 2013 as a member of Brad Jacobs' Northern Ontario team. Son of Brier champion Barry Fry, it has been a curling life for Team Canada's third. Two Canadian junior championships as a skip saw him ascend to the men's ranks where he represented Manitoba and Newfoundland at the Brier before winning with Jacobs in 2013. After qualifying for the Olympic Trials held in Winnipeg in December of 2013, Fry and his team got hot at right moment and beat a field that was rich with Canadian and world champions.

Megan Imrie

SPORT: BIATHLON

BORN: FALCON LAKE

AGE: 27

OLYMPIC STORY: Imrie will be competing in her second Olympics after representing Canada at Vancouver in 2010. A well-rounded athlete, Imrie is also accomplished in rodeo and long-distance running. Imrie first developed an interest in biathlon when she was six and the national championships were held at Falcon Lake. She made her debut at the world championships in 2008. Her best international result is fourth in the 4-by-6-kilometre relay in a 2013 World Cup race.

Jocelyne Larocque

SPORT: HOCKEY

BORN: STE. ANNE

AGE: 25

OLYMPIC STORY: Larocque as been part of Canada's national women's team since 2008 and has played in three IIHF Women's World Championships (2011, silver; 2012, gold; 2013, silver). This is her first Olympics. Larocque is a smallish blue-liner who plays a simple, but smart, game. Moving the puck quickly up and out of her zone is her top priority. An accounting major at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Larocque's best friend and long-time teammate Bailey Bram was a final cut from Team Canada. Larocque will, in some ways, be playing for them both in Sochi.

Brittany Schussler

SPORT: SPEEDSKATING

BORN: WINNIPEG

AGE: 28

OLYMPIC STORY: In her third Olympics, Schussler will race the 3,000 metres, 1,500, 1,000 and team pursuit. This World Cup season has seen her earn a silver in the team pursuit and a bronze in the 1,500 metres. Speedskating in Canada is going through a changing of the guard, with stars such as Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes not making the trip to Sochi. Schussler represents the next wave and will be counted on to lead the Canadian contingent.

Jonathan Toews

SPORT: HOCKEY

BORN: WINNIPEG

AGE: 25

OLYMPIC STORY: Captain of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks and a two-time Stanley Cup champion, Toews will be one of the most-watched players at the Olympic tournament. A young 21-year-old in 2010, Toews shocked the world with his brilliant play in Vancouver, leading Canada to the gold medal and being named the tournament's top forward. Toews also won gold medals at the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, 2006 and 2007 world junior championships and 2007 world championships. Named an alternate captain for these Olympics, Toews is a major piece of Team Canada.

Duncan Keith

SPORT: HOCKEY

BORN: WINNIPEG

AGE: 30

OLYMPIC STORY: This will be Keith's second Olympics and fourth time representing Canada internationally. Born in Winnipeg, Keith grew up in both Fort Frances, Ont., and Penticton, B.C., but still has lots of family and friends in Manitoba. One of the game's best two-way defenceman, Keith is a fluid skater with both offensive instincts and a mean streak. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Norris Trophy winner, Olympic gold medal winner and silver medallist at the 2008 world championships, Keith is developing the kind of resumé that someday will attract the attention of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Patrick Sharp

SPORT: HOCKEY

BORN: WINNIPEG

AGE: 32

OLYMPIC STORY: Sharp is one of the best stories among this year's star-studded Team Canada. A lot of players were locks last summer when Team Canada held its orientation camp, but Sharp was one individual who had to play his way onto the roster. It's easy to get overlooked on a Chicago Blackhawks team that counts 10 Olympians, but with 26 goals and 26 assists to date this season, Sharp is a star in his own right. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, this is Sharp's first Olympics. Born in Winnipeg but raised mostly in Thunder Bay, Ont., Sharp also played for Canada at two world championships, winning silver in 2008.

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2014 C5

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Updated on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 9:52 AM CST: Reformatted and added new photos.

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