Sacrificing time away from her family has certainly taken a toll on Georgina Wheatcroft.
As the Sun first reported, Wheatcroft has taken up official residence in Manitoba to replace Cathy Gauthier at lead for Jennifer Jones, leaving her husband and young family behind in B.C. through most of the fall.
"Yeah, it's been tough," Wheatcroft admitted recently. "It's always tougher than you think it's going to be. I mean, I'm a mom. But this is what I chose to do and I have to live with that."
Wheatcroft, whose kids are aged six years old and 16 months, has returned home whenever she could and flew the family to Calgary when Jones curled in a cashspiel there. She spent last week visiting them again before heading to the Canadian Curling Trials, which open in Halifax this Saturday.
"We have a full-time, live-in nanny," Wheatcroft said. "We had to get one or my husband might leave me.
"When I do come home, I see them all day for three or four days because I'm not working. If I was working in downtown Vancouver, I'd really only see them on weekends."
Gauthier left Jones after winning last year's Scott Tournament of Hearts because she wanted to commit more time to her kids, who are older than Wheatcroft's.
"Everybody's structure is different," said Wheatcroft, who won an Olympic bronze as second for B.C.'s Kelley Law in 2002. "When my husband and I first got together, he knew how much curling meant to me. And he knew I wanted to go back to the Olympics. This is our dream.
"The only reason I'm playing for Jennifer Jones and living in Manitoba and leaving my family behind is because I want that (Olympic) gold medal."
Then she laughed.
"No pressure, though."
While Wheatcroft was disappointed when Law failed to win Olympic gold, she has learned to cherish the bronze medal.
"We lost the semifinal on last rock and it was heart-wrenching," she recalled. "But once you're on that podium and have that (bronze) medal put around your neck, that was a proud moment.
"I think about that all the time. It was the biggest win we've ever had and it was somewhat life-altering."
TRIAL BITS: Jones opens against Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson Saturday morning, then plays Ontario's Jo-Ann Rizzo that night while Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton faces Alberta's John Morris in the afternoon ... Ticket sales will exceed the 160,000 sold at the successful 2003 Brier, ticket chairman Ken Myers said from Halifax yesterday ... Alberta's Randy Ferbey heads to the trials fresh off winning a World Curling Tour final worth $12,000 in Yorkton, Sask.