Featured Curling Athlete: Emily Gray

Junior curler Emily Gray, of O’Leary, Prince Edward Island, is enthusiastically enjoying her journey towards the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Emily Gray, playing for Prince Edward Island at the Canada Winter Games (Photo courtesy E. Gray)

With a curling resume that includes provincial and national championship competition since age 12, Emily embraces curling the way she tackles everything: full out.  Whether she’s racing to the next training camp with her Youth Olympic team (which also includes skip Thomas Scoffin, third Corryn Brown, and second Derek Oryniak), competing in her local softball championships (she plays third base and has been on the top-three teams in the province for most of the past six seasons) and varsity athletics program, or taking on leadership roles at her school, Emily is a non-stop action figure. Her curling background includes provincial awards such as the 2008 12-and-Under Fair Play Award, the 2009 15-and-Under Provincial Champion, 2009 15-and-Under Provincial Mixed Champion, 2011 Junior Mixed Runner-up and 2011 17-and-Under Provincial Champ. But her journey to the Youth Olympics began in 2010 when her Maple Leaf Curling Club team was the first to qualify for the provincial Canada Games playdowns, ultimately winning the right to represent Prince Edward Island at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax. Her performance there caught the eye of national coaches who selected her to play lead on Team Canada at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. When she’s not competing in the sport, she’s doing her best to spread her curling enthusiasm and abilities with others. “I have Level 1 coaching certification, and am working towards my level 2,” she says.  “I try to help out as much as I can at the after-school program my curling club puts on for elementary level curlers.” Off the ice, Emily is equally engaged in her community and other sports. “I was selected to be a Page in the 2010-2011 sittings in my Provincial Legislature.  I have also been a past recipient of the O’Leary Youth of the Year Award.” Not only that, but she also writes a monthly column for the Canadian Curling Association website in which she shares the experience of preparing to compete for Canada at Innsbruck this January. Follow Emily’s journey here: Youth Olympic Dreams. Birthplace: Summerside, Prince Edward Island Hometown: O’Leary, P.E.I. Curling Club: Maple Leaf Curling Club Current Team: Team MacLean (Provincial), Team Canada (Youth Olympic) Position: Second and Lead Delivery: Right Nickname: The Pony and Stretch   Quick Hits with Emily Gray Do you have any superstitions?  “Same cheer before I go on the ice. Mascot MUST be sitting in the window (if we’re not playing well we put him on his head to ‘turn the game around’). Killing the speakers in my mother’s car before entering the curling rink.” Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party. “Marc Kennedy, Derek Hough, Rick Mercer” If you could be a star in any other sport, what would it be, and why?  “Rugby because it is so much fun and you get to ‘kill’ girls on the field!” If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why?  “If a rock was removed during the four-rock-rule then the [non-offending] team would be allowed to decide if they wanted to have it placed back in its spot (rule now) or throw it again sometime throughout the game.” What music do you like to listen to before a game? “Anything that’s fun to listen to and has a lot of bass!” Favourite:Website?  “Facebook, Tumblr and my Google Calendar” … Order from Tim Hortons?  “Wild Berry Smoothie (WITH YOGURT!) and an oat cake” … Vacation destination?  “Australia (only this time in the summer!)” … Junk food?  “Pizza or Nachos or Bubble Gum Jelly Beans” Do you have any pet peeves? “Younger siblings… or slow drivers.” Three things you always travel with? “Fuzzy blanket, a good read, food food food” First thing on your Bucket List? “Travel the world!” Favourite pastime between draws at spiels? “Most definitely playing the card game Speed with my third, Kassie! Or catching a snooze!” One thing most people don’t know about you? “Even though I am really fun and outgoing and a loving life kind of person, I can be extremely shy!” What is the biggest misconception about curlers? “Curling IS a sport. Enough said.” Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal: “I would be sweeping my skip’s rock to the pin!”