Jones relishes new Olympic role

Headed to Vancouver as correspondent

By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency


Canadian curler Jennifer Jones is heading to the Soo this weekend. (QMI Agency/Craig Robertson)

TORONTO -- When Olympic women's curling begins next month, Jennifer Jones will make a point not to cheer for Cheryl Bernard.

Not that Jones is anti-Canadian or a sore loser from December's Roar Of The Rings Olympic trials, but Jones is taking her new duties as Yahoo! Canada's curling correspondent quite seriously.

“I’m a true Canadian and I want both our men and women to win gold,” Jones said Tuesday at the Royal York Hotel, where she is promoting her rink's defence of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts starting this weekend in Sault Ste. Marie.

“But when wearing a media hat, you can't show a true bias. I'll be reporting on curling as I see it.

“I’m a little nervous because I’ve never written before and I’m always cautious about what I say to the media. It will be different for me trying to get information from people.”

The call from Yahoo was a pick-me-up for Jones, whose rink was a surprise early casualty in Edmonton last month in its second failed attempt to represent Canada. Bernard went on to defeat 2006 Olympic representative and Turin bronze winner Shannon Kleibrink for the right to go for Canada’s fourth medal in as many Games.

Bernard is not as well known as the perky Jones, who would have been a charmer to the foreign media on the Vancouver stage. But she wishes Bernard the best.

“Losing wasn’t just disappointing for us, it was disappointing for seven teams,” Jones said. “It will take a little while for us (Jones, third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn Askin) to get over it. But we have to put it in perspective. It was just one event and we have the Scotties to look forward to.

“You have an Olympic dream. but (covering the Games) will be an experience of a lifetime for me in a different way. As tough as it is not being on the ice, I’ll be at the venue every day, I’ll be working with Elvis Stojko, Tiki Barber and others for Yahoo! I think everything happens for a reason and I’m really excited for the opportunity.

“I’ll be blogging and trying to make it fun and upbeat and get to some of the different stories going on in curling. I’ll do a video summary of the day and we might be on Twitter some of the day. The more we can promote curling, the better.”

Jones, a corporate lawyer for the Winnipeg-based firm Wellington West Capital, hopes to regain her edge next week in the Scotties, to be held at the new 5,000-seat home of the OHL Greyhounds.

“Any time you go to the Scotties, it’s amazing, whether it’s a big or small population centre. You’d rather play in front of a sold-out crowd than a half-empty arena. The whole city is already behind it. In a big city, sometimes you are one of many events going on at once. But (in the Soo) you almost get to be a star.”

“It’s going to be tough. Four of the Olympic trials teams are there. You’d expect Kelly Scott, Krista McCarville, Amber Holland and Andrea Kelly to be tough. The teams with experience know what to expect, the teams without experience go in with nothing to lose.”

POLL