Jennifer Jones the greatest of all time, says Colleen Jones

Canada's skip Jennifer Jones jumps into the air after beating Great Britain to win the women's...

Canada's skip Jennifer Jones jumps into the air after beating Great Britain to win the women's curling gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 19, 2014. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

Ted Wyman, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:54 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - She has six Canadian championships of her own to go along with two world titles so you might say Colleen Jones knows a thing or two about women's curling.

And she doesn't hesitate when asked where she would rank Olympic gold medallist Jennifer Jones among the all-time great women's curlers.

"She's the greatest curler of all-time," Colleen Jones said Friday.

"She's in a league of her own and she played like she was in a league of her own all week."

Jennifer Jones and her Winnipeg teammates completed a perfect tournament in their first Olympics on Thursday, beating Sweden 6-3 in the gold-medal game.

The 39-year-old lawyer steamrolled the competition -- going 11-0 to set an Olympic record that will never be broken -- and added the gold medal to a resume that already includes four Canadian championships and a world title.

That sparkling career would be enough to get Jennifer Jones in the conversation as one of the best skips of all time, but Colleen Jones (no relation) says it's something else entirely that sets her apart.

"Women's curling keeps evolving year after year," the former Nova Scotia skip said. "So it's not to take away from any past champions, it's just that right now, it's at a terrific level and, with Jennifer, the cream has more than risen to the top, it's foaming."

The other women who are often mentioned as the greatest skip of all time include Canadian legend Sandra Schmirler and Swedish skip Anette Norberg.

Schmirler won three world championships and an Olympic gold medal before dying of cancer in 2000.

Few people, including Colleen Jones, would have dared to suggest anyone else could be better a few years back.

And it's a stretch to suggest anyone is better than Norberg, who has two Olympic gold medals and three world championships. Jennifer Jones will likely never match those numbers, but Colleen Jones stands fast in her assessment.

"We always look at Anette Norberg and Sandra Schmirler and they are great curlers but different times, different eras, different competitors," Colleen Jones said.

"Jennifer Jones, when you look at the stats and the degree of difficulty of her shots, it's just kind of mindblowing what she did. Jennifer has been around for a long time and she has just consistently, year in, year out, just been one of the greatest players. Add this Olympic gold to her already terrific resume and is just, for me, taking it to another level."

Jones won the first gold medal in women's curling for Canada since Schmirler won in Nagano in 1998.

What set her apart from Kelley Law in 2002, Shannon Kleibrink in 2006 and Cheryl Bernard in 2010 (all won medals but not gold) was her composure under pressure and ability to make precision shots.

"She's got a great team in front of her but the shots she made, game after game, end after end, some of them all you could say was 'Wow,'" Colleen Jones said.

"She won in such impressive fashion. Undefeated, pressure shots, she played a highly aggressive game so her degree of difficulty on every shot is super hard. There's no shot she can't make but it's her ability to do it time and time again under pressure.

"She's just at a whole other different level."

Colleen Jones believes Jennifer Jones went from being an elite curler to the greatest curler when she became a mother 15 months ago.

" I think she's a totally different curler from what she was during her four Canadian championships," Colleen Jones said. "Giving berth to Isabella has given her perspective. She just looks happier and she's got something else other than curling to worry about, that's bigger than curling.

"The perspective of Isabella has made her a better curler. Perspective is a wonderful thing."

The big question now is: What's next for Jennifer Jones?

Does this Olympic gold prompt her to take a step back from competitive curling to focus on other priorities, or does she use her remaining athletic years to build on her legacy?

"I don't know where she finishes this," Colleen Jones said. "I don't know if this is enough for her or if she's going to be hungry for more.

"If she does, then she's going to be really dangerous. My best years were in my 40s and all the best men's skips, Stoughton, Martin and Howard are all in their 40s if not 50s.

"She's got a good 10 years to build on the legacy that she's got already. The sky's the limit."

ted.wyman@sunmedia.ca


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