SOCHI, RUSSIA - Canada's Jennifer Jones is just two wins away from a curling gold medal and now needs to work at keeping her team sharp for a few days while the rest of the semifinalists get sorted out.
The Jones team, from Winnipeg, ran its record to 7-0 with a pair of wins in the Winter Olympic tournament Saturday and have clinched first place a full two days before the end of round-robin play.
The Canadians will play their semifinal Wednesday, but it will take a while to find out the opponent as there are five teams still in contention for the other three playoffs spots.
"It's amazing," Jones said. "We're loving it and we're in the playoffs at the Olympics. We know we're going to have a chance to be on that podium. I get goosebumps just talking about it."
The Jones team, which includes third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen, beat Japan 8-6 and Russia 5-3 on Friday. The Canadians have games against the United States Sunday and Korea Monday but neither game has any meaning for the Jones team.
The skip said it will be important to keep their collective foot on the gas pedal, however.
"I don't know if we've been dominant," she said. "It feels like there have been really close games. "Now we have a couple of games to really get some confidence with the ice."
Some might think the Canadians are due for a letdown after playing so well to this point but not having another meaningful game until Wednesday.
Jones would have none of that, though.
"We're at the Olympics and it's pretty fun to play out there," she said. "We are just so embracing everything about this moment and we don't want it to end. "You don't look ahead."
Jones has a great deal of international experience, having played in four world championships and winning one.
She's played in just about every big game there is and that know-how has been invaluable in this Olympics.
"We haven't been nervous," Jones said. "It's a lifetime of waiting for this moment. (But also) it's sports. At the end of the day, (her daughter) Isabella's still going to be there, we have our families and we've made it to the Olympics and we are Olympians. We just want to make sure we leave our best on the ice. I feel like we've come to the Olympics and performed really well on the world's biggest stage. I'm really proud of us."
Jones said there are no plans at the moment to let fifth player Kirsten Wall get into a game, though that all depends on how everyone feels over the next two days.
There will still be some tough challenges ahead for the Canada.
The other teams still contending for the playoffs include former world champions from Great Britain, China and Switzerland, and perennial contender Sweden. Jones sounds up to the challenge.
"It's more than you could ever dream of in your entire life to be in the playoffs at the Olympics, so it's not hard to keep it going, just get that confidence as good as we can and just enjoy it," she said.