Oldest Canadian Olympian ready for sweep success

By JIM BENDER, QMI AGENCY

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- The Manitoba-born Olympian is hoping to experience deja vu all over again of sorts.

Like Russ Howard in 2006, Carolyn Darbyshire-McRory will be the oldest Canadian at this year's Winter Olympics. And like Howard, Darbyshire-McRory is hoping to bring home the gold.

"Exactly," said Darbyshire-McRory, 46, who plays second -- like Howard did at the last Olympics -- for Alberta's Cheryl Bernard, Canada's entry into this year's Olympics. "We're getting up there. I will be the oldest Olympian but, you know what? You're only as old as you feel so, it's great. I still have a lot of fun. I've got two kids who keep me young."

Darbyshire-McRory, who played lead for her mother Merline when she represented Manitoba at the 1985 women's nationals, was in town with the Bernard team to take in some of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts action, get some practice on arena ice and soak up the adulation.

"This is really, really exciting. I am so happy to be going," she said.

Darbyshire-McRory has been getting all kinds of support from fans and family back in Manitoba ever since Bernard won the Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton in December.

"I've got tons of fans and family back in Manitoba," she said. "I've got family up in Thompson and in the Swan River area and my dad's back in Portage."

Darbyshire-McRory was born in Arborg but curled out of Portage la Prairie. Her parents, who have split up, will be in Vancouver along with her husband, Rod, and her kids.

Her husband is already in Vancouver as his company, Canadian Decal Installers, has the contract to apply Olympic decals. Bernard, by the way, opted out of trying to defend her provincial championship to get back to the Scotties.

"We talked about it, but it would have been tough for us to get up for two big events," she said.

Team Canada's Jennifer Jones had been hoping to do both if she won the trials, but the Scotties can take its toll.

"This event can be a bit of a grind and can take a lot out of you before playing in the biggest event of your life," said third Susan O'Connor.

"But it's hard (to watch the Scotties) because this is the event you love to play in," Bernard said.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca

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