Redemption time? Jones relishes 2nd chance to rule world

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

VERNON, B.C. -- The way the Manitobans ran the table to be crowned Canadian champs would suggest Jennifer Jones has a date with destiny when the 'Rockin' in the Okanagan' women's world curling championship opens at the Greater Vernon Multiplex today.

And never mind a minor letdown at the Canada Cup in-between championships.

"That's always a nice thought," Jones said yesterday. "Some things are meant to be and hopefully, this is meant to be for us."

Overcoming the adversity her squad faced at the Scotties and the 2005 world women's championship in Paisley, Scotland, has served to make it a better team, Jones said.

SAME ICEMAKER, ROCKS

It had better be because a Canuck squad has not won a world women's championship on home turf since 1996 (Marilyn Bodogh in Hamilton).

"Really?" Jones responded. "You have to use the fans to your advantage and we like to play in front of big crowds. We thrive on it."

Jones will have another advantage. The icemaker --Dave Merklinger -- and the rocks are the same as the ones she used to win eight straight games at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

"They worked well for us in Regina and hopefully, they'll work well for us here," said Jones, supported by third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and Dawn Askin.

Jones figures that Switzerland's Mirjam Ott, USA's Deb McCormick, Scotland's Gail Munro and possibly Denmark's Angelina Jensen will be her toughest tests. Canada opens against Ott tonight in the second draw (8 p.m.).

Russia's up-and-coming Liudmila Privivkova and Sweden's unknown Stina Viktorsson could also be threats, Jones added.

Ott won Olympic silver medals in both 2006 and 2002 as third for Luzia Ebnother. McCormick played in the 2002 Olympics as third for Kari Ericson and 1998 as second for Lisa Schoenberg.

Should Jones win, she will not get any more funding or the kind of perks that they claimed at the Hearts, such as the bye into the 2009 Canadian Curling Trials.

"We don't play for the money," she said. "That game (Canadian final) was for us to wear the Maple Leaf again and a chance to call yourselves a world champion."

Only the world crown and an Olympic berth have eluded Jones, who finished fourth in Paisley.

McCormick, who won the 2003 world title in Winnipeg and lost the 2006 final to Sweden's Anette Norberg in Grande Prairie, Alta., is hoping to rekindle that magic back on Canadian pebble again.

"We have played quite a bit in Canada," said McCormick, who was born in Saskatoon. "And we love to play in Canada. It's got great ice, great fans and great competition. And we're really looking forward to it. We feel really good and have had a really good season."

Madeleine Dupont, who just competed at the world juniors and will be throwing fourth stones for Denmark lost last year's final to Canada's Kelly Scott.

"It is an adjustment because juniors are more for fun and you're more relaxed," said Dupont, 21. "You are not trying to qualify for anything and if you get get a medal, you're happy.

"Here there's more pressure and it's more serious. We (Denmark) have already qualified for the Olympics, but we want to qualify with our own team."

BENDER'S PICKS

1. Jennifer Jones, Canada (3-1) ... will not be denied but not as easy as you think

2. Deb McCormick, USA (5-1) ... former world champ with Canuck flavour

3. Mirjam Ott, Switzerland (8-1) ... two-time Olympic silver medallist

4. Angelina Jensen, Denmark (12-1) ... Danish treats were last year's runner-up

5. Liudmila Privivkova, Russia (15-1) ... the dark filly with Olympic experience

6. Stina Viktorsson, Sweden (20-1) ... knocked off legendary Norberg

7. Gail Munro, Scotland (30-1) ... never count a Scot out

8. Andrea Schopp, Germany (40-1) ... no Octoberfest for her

9. Bingyu Wang, China (50-1) ... could surprise with good fortune

10. Moe Meguro, Japan (70-1) ... may have more respectful showing

11. Diana Gaspari, Italy (85-1) ... can cook up better sauce than this

12. Katerina Urbanova, Czech Republic (100-1) ... will 'Czech' out early.


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