Nedohin has eye on Sochi 2014 Olympics

Canada skip Heather Nedohin (centre) watches the line of her shot as teammates Jessica Mair (left)...

Canada skip Heather Nedohin (centre) watches the line of her shot as teammates Jessica Mair (left) and Laine Peters sweep during their tiebreaker game against the U.S. at the World Women's Curling Championships in Lethbridge, Alta., March 23, 2012. (ANDY CLARK/Reuters)

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:10 PM ET

EDMONTON - As last year's World Curling Tour season progressed, Heather Nedohin's goals may have seemed pretty lofty.

This was a foursome that was seeded No. 5 heading into the 12-team Alberta championship.

The fact that something magical happened to Nedohin, third Beth Iskiw, second Jessica Mair and lead Laine Peters is now history.

They will be Team Canada heading into next year's Scotties. And after earning a bronze medal at the worlds, they secured themselves a spot at the 2013 Olympic Trials.

After flying under the radar all year, they got hot at the right time.

"Planned it just right, huh?" smiled Nedohin, whose team kicked off their WCT season with a first-day win at The Shoot-Out being held at the Saville Centre.

To get back to the international stage, whether it be the worlds or the Olympics has to start with a more consistent performance on the Tour.

Canadian women have not been as dominant as the men on the international stage, as witnessed by the fact that seven of the top 20 women's teams in the world are from outside this country.

Canada has been shut out of a worlds gold since Jennifer Jones won it in 2008.

In that sense, there is a bit of a bigger picture at play.

"There's no way we're going to be letting down," said Nedohin. "Honestly, in the world standings, Canada hasn't won the gold for a while and we have to step up to what they're stepping up to.

"All of us Canadian teams are working hard to stay on top because internationally, we know they are. There's no doubt, any one of us that has the opportunity to represent Canada at the Olympics, we want to be coming home with gold."

With the table already set for major event appearances, there's no shortage of motivation to reaffirm this foursome is one of Canada's elite teams.

"Darryl (coach Horne) has definitely shaped us to where we want to be in preparation for 2014," said Nedohin, about the team's ultimate goal to represent Canada at the Sochi Olympics.

"We've had some great opportunities over the summer to reflect back, to see how our season went and to reflect over the last couple of years to see the growth of the team. It's a complete bonus to have all four of us intact and playing the whole season."

Their achievements have placed a different type of pressure on the foursome, who gained a lot of confidence during their run.

"It's exciting times for us because we have lots of room to improve and we have the timeline to do it," said Nedohin. "The pressure is always on. Canadian teams are always strong. You can't have a lackadaisical year and hold back. We're always pushing ourselves to be better. We battle out there most games.

"There's no opportunity for us to let our game down whatsoever. We've got to maintain sharpness as a solid unit."

Iskiw, for one, is ready for the tough road ahead. Her setup performances during the playdowns helped her confidence soar.

"We still have a lot of the same goals we did last year," said Iskiw. "We achieved goals we all worked hard toward but now we want to build on that. We feel as a team we're energized and we're really encouraged by our experience last year.

"It will always be great to look back on, a great experience as a team. We had a lot of ups and owns last season and we learned from that. At the end, we were playing as well as we ever have and we want to continue on from there."

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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