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Female Athlete of the Week: Heather Strong

This week’s female Athlete of the Week is Heather Strong of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Heather Strong (Photo: Andrew Klaver Photography)

Birthdate: Nov 9, 1976
Birthplace: St. John’s, NL
Hometown: St. John’s, NL
Curling Club: Bally Haly Golf & Curling Club
Current Team: Steers Insurance
Position: Skip
Delivery: Left
Nickname: n/a

Getting to know Heather Strong

Representing her home province in a national competition evidently never gets old for Heather Strong.

She’s done it nine times, all as a skip, in women’s curling. Four more times as a junior. And, just for good measure, twice as a synchronized swimmer, representing Newfoundland and Labrador at the 1991 and 1995 Canada Summer Games.

And while swimming has evidently been good to her, it’s been on a sheet of curling ice where Strong has put together her most notable accomplishments.

Despite the geographic disadvantage of curling out Canada’s most eastern province, Strong’s teams have always managed to contend at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, losing twice in playoff tiebreakers in recent years — in 2008 at Regina to eventual champion Jennifer Jones, and again two years earlier in London, Ont., against Quebec’s Eve Belisle, an event at which Strong was named the second all-star team skip.

Her current team includes, as always, younger sister Laura Strong — with whom she’s won five of the past six Newfoundland/Labrador women’s titles (and, by the way, they were on the 1995 Canada Summer Games synchronized swimming team together) along with second Jen Cunningham and lead Stephanie Leachman, and you can look for that lineup to contend, once again, for a trip the 2011 Scotties later this season in Charlottetown.

Quick Hits with Heather Strong

Do you have any superstitions?
“No; if superstitions were the key to success why bother practising?”

Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party.
“Terry Fox, Oprah Winfrey and Danny Williams.”

If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why?
“Tennis — more money and warmer weather.”

If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why?
“Time clocks — time the ‘non-action’ instead of a shot in progress.”

What music do you like to listen to before a game?
“Nothing; silence before two-plus hours of yelling . . . ”

Favourite:
— Website? “www.terryfox.org.”
— Order from Tim Hortons? “Large coffee with a half shot of milk.”
— Vacation destination? “Places on the ocean, including Newfoundland/Labrador.”
— Junk food? “ALL candy.”

Do you have any pet peeves?
“Car wipers that are too fast for the speed of rain; people who scuff their heels when they walk; texting whilst talking.”

Three things you always travel with?
“iPhone (with pictures of my pets, internet access, and you can always call home).”

First thing on your Bucket List?
“Visit the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial (a memorial site in France).”

Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels?
“Watching television; true crime and trauma shows.”

One thing most people don’t know about you?
“I do not have a Facebook account.”

What is the biggest misconception about curlers?
“The physical component of the sport is under-rated.”

Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal:
“A team shot — something sensational involving a great line call and lots of sweeping.”