By Shawn Coates (@shawncoates)
WINNIPEG — Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones (St. Vital CC) will represent Canada in women’s curling at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games after beating Sherry Middaugh 8-4 in the women’s final of the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Olympic curling trials Saturday night.
Jones’ first shot in the 10th end brought the 8,565 fans in the MTS Centre to their feet, as the shot ran Middaugh out of rocks to ensure the victory and send Team Jones to Sochi, Russia.
“You dream of it since you’re a little kid and we’ve had many dreams come true, but this is so rare — this opportunity. Our dreams came true today in the most amazing way. It’s unbelievable,” Jones said moments after stepping off the ice from her victory.
Jones scored three in the second end and three more in the seventh end to help her cause. The three-spot in the second end was an early and fatal dagger, according to Middaugh.
“It was dropping that three and getting down,” Middaugh said, when asked about the game’s turning point. “We needed rocks in play and they certainly weren’t going to do that. Unfortunately, that was it. Just that three points. I mean, we battled back and then we gave them that other three when we needed to force. Unfortunately when you force, sometimes you give up a big end.”
Jones and crew — third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer, lead Dawn McEwen, alternate Kristen Wall and coach Janet Arnott — will now proudly wear red and white for Canada at the Olympics, slated for February 7-24, 2014.
“You couldn’t ask for a better team to be going to the Olympics with,” Lawes said. “Those girls worked their butts off for so many years, so it’s pretty special to be doing this with them. It’s a dream come to go to an Olympics and represent our country — not just curling fans, but all sports fans. I know we’re going to work our butts off to do our best over there.”
Team Jones curled high percentages in the final. Officer was particularly brilliant, curling 99 percent in the final. She was blown away with the emotion of winning.
“It’s better than I imagined,” Officer said. “To play at home in front of all these people and have all this support… it’s just incredible. We’re just so thrilled and we really hope that we can represent Canada really well.”
John Morris will face Brad Jacobs in the men’s final Sunday after downing Kevin Martin 7-5. Game time is 2 p.m.