Beijing 2022 Blog #24

Jennifer Jones led Canada to a win against the United States on Wednesday in Beijing. (Photo, World Curling Federation/Stephen Fisher)

Team Canada Beijing 2022 Blog: Elaine Dagg-Jackson

It’s hard to describe or explain the kind of pressure an athlete feels at the Olympics. Especially when they’re representing Canada in curling.

Our nation has lofty expectations when it comes to performance at this curling event every four years. For many, any old medal isn’t good enough; it’s gold or bust. But the days of Canada just showing up at the Olympics and being a gold-medal contender are by far and away a thing of the past. I’ve seen firsthand how hard nations have worked over the past decade to build successful curling programs and accomplish goals. Now, any Canadian team that is sliding over the Olympic rings has to train harder, work harder and perform better than ever before.

That includes an incredible amount of sacrifice. With many of our top competitors being essentially full-time curlers, our Canadians needs to put more work into accomplishing their goals. This comes at the cost of friends, family and work. When you throw in Covid and the need for quarantining before the event, those sacrifices are amplified. 

But the viewers on TV don’t see this. Most see four Canadian women throwing rocks for the purposes of making their country proud. A missed podium result or a lost game weighs on a viewer for moments, but for an athlete it feels like an eternity of grief and stings for a while.

It also comes with criticism from viewers, especially on social media. For athletes, it’s a privilege to compete on this grand of a stage and it is generally accepted that they are exposing themselves to pain and disappointment at times. 

But no matter the outcome, we at Curling Canada, – and we believe everyone should feel this way – are so proud of their accomplishments. These athletes are simply the best the in our nation, and it is an honour to watch them complete for Canada. 

We’ve been increasing our resources in mental health and wellness for our curlers. Whether it’s advice in managing negative social media responses, providing support services or sports psychology, we want to keep the conversation going and make sure athletes know they can rely on us for support. 

Coach Viktor has put Team Jones into an excellent headspace this week and that showed following this morning’s win against the USA. This team is heading in the right direction and I can’t wait to see what’s to come. What I find most amazing is that following a win or a loss, the attitude off the ice remains grateful, the tone is light and they’re honored to be here. Playing that loose and working together towards the common goal will go a long way this week.

It’s a two-game day for us in Beijing. Please join us for the team’s next game tonight in Beijing. You can watch us play China on Wednesday morning at 7:05 a.m. ET.

Curling Canada