Focus on Oly trials

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

Team Canada's Jennifer Jones and her teammates had a long time to ponder the fact that they were returning home from the women's world curling championship empty-handed.

"That 8 1/2-hour flight from Scotland was the longest flight ever," Canada lead Cathy Gauthier said after going through customs at Winnipeg International Airport yesterday. "We all just tried to sleep and forget about the victory banquet, because it's very hard when you're not part of the victory. And none of us were sleeping well, and we won't be for a while."

Jones headed to Paisley, Scotland, with high expectations after winning the national Scott Tournament of Hearts in dramatic fashion, only to discover a poorly organized, sparsely attended world event plagued with pathetic ice conditions.

DIDN'T MAKE ENOUGH SHOTS

"You can take the ice conditions and the 37 fans in the crowd and marching on to Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy, and all those things, and once you put all those aside, we didn't make enough shots to win," Gauthier said. "Why that happened? Don't know. Knowing that we didn't play well and finishing fourth in the world makes it even worse."

But it was not all doom and gloom.

"It's nice to be home," said Jones, who was greeted with applause from about 50 supporters. "Obviously, a little disappointed. We really wanted to go win a medal and just didn't play as well as we would have liked. We really wanted to represent Canada well and we're going to be back.

"If we would have done anything differently, it probably would have been to pick up on the ice a little better. But we learned a lot and will know better next time. We got to represent Canada. We're in the Olympic trials, and we're going to try to win that. If my career ended today, we got to win the Scott and to represent the country, and it doesn't get much better than that -- except to win the world gold."

Or, perhaps, Olympic gold.

"You have to play better at a world championship," said third Cathy Overton-Clapham. "If we could have prepared ourselves more to experience what we did, it might have helped. We had to deal with the poor ice conditions, which is no excuse, because everyone had to play on it, and the whole atmosphere -- it was like we were in a little bonspiel, really.

"After winning the Scott, we only had two weeks to prepare, and I honestly think we were a little burned out before we went. It's hard to try to soak in that exciting win, then get ready to go."

At least they can learn from that frustration.

"We can debrief on our experience at the world championship and see how we can use that to a positive advantage going into next year, because we do have a lot of opportunities," said second Jill Officer. "I mean, we're Team Canada at the Scott next year, we're going to the Olympic trials in Halifax, and that only comes around once every four years. So that's a wonderful opportunity. We have a lot to look forward to, and it's OK to take some time right now to sort of get over the loss and to grieve about our experience at the worlds."


Videos

Photos