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Olympic Insider Report – February 17th

Our Canadian teams have been keeping busy at the Olympics, and it’s not just all about curling.

Yes, that’s the main focus for Kevin and Cheryl and their teams — they know they’re here to win gold for Canada — but both also know that the Olympics can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience so they, and their teams, are going to try to take it all in, and how can you blame them?

Cheryl, Susan, Carolyn, Cori and Kristie were all at the Canadian women’s hockey game against Switzerland on Monday, where they got a pretty good idea of the crowd noise they were in for at the Vancouver Olympic Centre!

Those tickets were set up by national coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson, who just happens to be a friend of Canadian women’s hockey coach Melody Davidson. Don’t be surprised if a few Canadian women’s hockey players show up at the curling rink to offer a little support of their own for Cheryl’s team!

Kevin, John, Marc, Ben and Adam, meanwhile, have been busy, too. They were at the Canada-Slovakia women’s hockey game (not much of a game, really — 18-0 Canada!), and have also been at the Richmond Oval for some speed-skating. In fact, Kevin had a nice conversation with national Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff in the security line. Wonder if Ignatieff was trying to recruit Kevin to run for the Liberals in Edmonton!
Hey, did everybody know Kristie is pregnant? She and her boyfriend Shane Wray are expecting their first child in late May, which is great news! Kristie was getting a lot of media attention about her pregnancy because it’s so rare for a pregnant athlete to be competing in the Winter Olympics. Apparently, she’s only the third one; a figure skater in 1920 and a skeleton athlete in 2006. Skeleton! Not sure that’s such a great idea when you’re pregnant.

What does everybody think about the Norwegian pants? Maybe we should think about getting some red and white ones for future Canadian teams!

All of the families are getting into town as the competition continues, and there was a nice get-together on Tuesday night at the Vancouver Curling Club, which is right next door. The family members all received temporary club memberships and were able to get to know each other after the games Tuesday night.

By the way, did you know the Vancouver Curling Club’s manager is none other than Chris Daw? He, of course, won a curling gold medal for Canada at the 2006 Paralympics in Torino.

The Vancouver club has actually been a pretty lively place this week. On the weekend, ESPN’s Rick Reilly, one of the top sportswriters in the world, was there to interview, and get a private lesson with, Mike Harris, who skipped Canada to a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

But that was probably overshadowed on Tuesday when Jennifer Jones, who won her third straight Scotties Tournament of Hearts national women’s championship on Feb. 7 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., gave a private lesson to singer Michael Buble! You can see video footage of the lesson at: http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/video/player/woly/Curling.

Jennifer is here in Vancouver as a media person! She’s writing a daily blog for yahoo.ca, and probably doing a little scouting for the Ford world women’s championship, presented by Monsanto, which runs from March 20th to the 28th at the Credit Union i-Plex in Swift Current, Sask.

Oh, and by the way? Our teams are still unbeaten! It’s early yet but there are some good signs for both teams and the crowd support has been just amazing. Keep it up, Canada.