Jennifer Jones (curler)
|Jennifer Judith Jones|
July 7, 1974 |
|Curling club||St. Vital CC,
|Hearts appearances||12 (2002, 2005, 2006,
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)
|5 (2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015)|
|Top CCA ranking||1st (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15)|
|Grand Slam victories||11: Autumn Gold: 3 (2007, 2009, 2014); Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries: 1 (2013); Wayden Transportation: 1 (2008); Players' Championships: 4 (2007, 2009, 2011, 2014); Sobeys Slam: 1 (2010); Colonial Square: 1 (2013)|
Jennifer Judith Jones (born July 7, 1974) is a Canadian curler. She won an Olympic gold medal as skip of the Canadian team at the 2014 Sochi Games. She is the first female skip to go through the Games undefeated. The only male skip to achieve this is fellow Canadian Kevin Martin in 2010. Jones and her squad are the first Manitoba based curling team to win an Olympic gold medal. She is the 2008 World Champion, and as of 2015, is the last Canadian women's team to do so. Jones has won the national championship five times, most recently during the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. To go along with her national championships, Jones has also won the Manitoba provincial championship ten times.
Early life and personal
Jennifer Judith Jones was born to Larry and Carol Jones who were both curlers. She also has a sister named Heather 18 months older. During her childhood, she was often described as "shy". Larry Jones started teaching Jones when she was 11 although Jones' interest of the sport took up before that, in a daycare at the St. Vital Curling Club. She attended General Vanier School in South Winnipeg from kindergarten to grade 8. After, she attended Windsor Park Collegiate. At that point, Jones was proficient at Volleyball and Curling. "When I was in high school I really had to make a choice and it was actually my volleyball coach who told me I had to choose either volleyball or curling, and I chose curling." she told the CBC. She later attended the University of Manitoba from 1999-2001.
In the University of Manitoba, Jones met Scott Labonte who became her significant other. She earned a B.A. in psychology, economics and law. She later became a lawyer, a corporate counsel for National Bank Financial. On February 10, 2012, Jones filed a divorce from Labonte citing "no possibility of reconciliation". Jones then started a relationship with former world champion curler Brent Laing from Ontario although it was not publicly known for over a year. They later got engaged to be married. Jones gave birth to her first child, Isabella Laing prematurely on November 13, 2012 in Barrie, Ontario. Although it was a premature birth, the baby was healthy weighing over 3.2 kilograms. "Honestly, she's the best thing that's ever happened to me," she said.
Jones began curling at the age of 11. As a junior curler, Jones won three provincial junior championships and a national junior championship. Her first provincial junior competition was in 1990 when she was 15. The team was coached by Jones' dad which included her sister Heather at second, Tracey Lavery at third, and Dana Malanchuk at lead. They won one time and lost two times before being eliminated. After the tournament, Jones was recruited to play third for Jill Staub.
In 1991, Jones won her first provincial junior title, playing third for Jill Stuab (Thurston). The team also included Kristie Moroz at second and Kelly Scott (then Mackenzie) at lead. The team represented Manitoba at the 1991 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Leduc, Alberta. The team finished the round-robin in first place, with a 10–1 record. This gave the team a bye to the final, when they lost in the final to New Brunswick, skipped by Heather Smith.
After the lost, Jones set out to skipping her own team and form together the right squad. She approached Jill Officer, whom she saw great potential at the Highlander Curling Club in Winnipeg."We got together when we were quite young and had an instant connection on the ice and became really good friends." says Jones.
Jones won her second provincial junior title in 1993 as a skip. Her team consisted of Trisha Baldwin at third, Jill Officer at second and Dana Malanchuk (Allerton) at lead. After they won the provincial juniors, they set out for the Canadian Juniors. The team finished the round robin of the 1993 Canadian Juniors with an 8–3 record, tied for third with Nova Scotia and Quebec. The team played Quebec (skipped by Janique Berthelot) in their tie-breaker match, but lost, eliminating them from the tournament.
The following year, the team won their second straight provincial junior title. At the 1994 Canadian Juniors, the team once again found themselves in a three-way tie for third, this time with Ontario and Northern Ontario, and with a 7–4 record. In their first tie-breaker, they defeated Northern Ontario's Rhonda Halvorsen 10–4. They then defeated Ontario's Dominique Lascelles 10–8 in the second tie-breaker. This put the team into the semi-final, against British Columbia's Jeanna Richard (Schraeder), whom they beat 5–3. The win put them in the final, against the first place Saskatchewan rink, skipped by Sherry Linton. The team beat Saskatchewan 8–5, claiming the 1994 Canadian Junior title. However, during the final, Jones suffered a black eye and bumped her head after tripping over her feet. Jones told the CBC, "[My eye] is really sore and I've got the biggest headache of my life." Ordinarily this would mean a berth in the following year's World Junior Curling Championships, but a change in the ruling by the Canadian Curling Association (CAA) forced her to play in a playoff the following year for the right to attend, which she lost to MacKenzie's team. However, the CCA decided to give Jones' team another chance to qualify and put them directly at the semi-finals which was against MacKenzie and lost, again.
Early women's career
After juniors, Jones would later partner up with Karen Porritt, Porritt's twin sister Lynn Fallis-Kurz, and Jones' junior lead, Dana Allerton. The team would lose in the final of the 2001 Manitoba Scott Tournament of Hearts, the provincial women's championship to Karen Young. However, the following year, the Jones rink won the Manitoba Hearts, which earned them the right to represent the province at the 2002 Scott Tournament of Hearts, the Canadian national women's championship. At the 2002 Hearts, she led her Manitoba rink to an 8–3 round robin finish, which placed them in third place. This placement put them in the playoffs, where she lost to Ontario's Sherry Middaugh. The following season, Jones replaced Porritt with Kimberly Keizer at third. The team made it to the final of the 2003 Manitoba Scott Tournament of Hearts, but lost to Barb Spencer in the final.
The following season, Porritt was brought back on to the team, replacing Keizer. The team had less success at the 2004 Manitoba Scott Tournament of Hearts, losing in the quarter final to Joelle Duguid.
2005 and "The Shot"
Jones returned to the Scott at the 2005 Scott Tournament of Hearts, with her team consisting of Cathy Gauthier at lead, Jill Officer at second, and Cathy Overton-Clapham at third. She would win the 2005 Scotts by defeating Team Ontario, skipped by Jenn Hanna in the championship game. Jones faced an extremely difficult shot to win, having to hit a rock outside of the house and roll to the button taking out an Ontario rock. Had she missed, she would have lost both the game and the tournament. The shot was perfect, scoring 4 points with her final stone and winning the game. CBC analyst Mike Harris described it as "the best shot I've ever seen to win a game". Revered by Canadian sports media and admiring curling fans, Jones' accomplishment under pressure was quickly dubbed "The Shot", and, in the following weeks, became the source of talk and of attempts by novice curlers to repeat the feat in curling clubs across the country. The team's win qualified them for the 2005 World Women's Curling Championship in Paisley, Scotland. The Worlds were a disappointing tournament for her and her team, where they struggled constantly with poor ice conditions. They were knocked out of the playoffs in the 3–4 game against Dordi Nordby and her Norway rink.
In the off-season, Jones replaced Gauthier at lead with 2002 Olympic bronze medalist Georgina Wheatcroft who had also won the 2000 World Championship. This was done in part to boost the team's chances at the Olympic trials in December 2005, the first time Jones had qualified for an Olympic Trial. However, the team finished a disappointing 5–4 and out of the playoffs. In the trials, Jones also experienced a case of kidney stones, and was rushed to hospital. She described it as "the worst pain I've ever had".
Because Jones had won the 2005 Scott Tournament of Hearts, she got to return to the 2006 Scott Tournament of Hearts in London, Ontario as Team Canada. At the Hearts that year, she managed to defeat Colleen Jones's team from Nova Scotia in the semi-final before losing to her formal team-mate Kelly Scott of Kelowna, British Columbia in the final.
In 2006, Wheatcroft moved back to her home of Vancouver, British Columbia to live with the rest of her family and to play with her former skip, Kelley Law. She was replaced by Dana Allerton. Midway through the season however, she was dropped in favour of Janet Arnott just before the provincial playdowns.
On the eve of the 2007 provincial championship, Jones decided Allerton wasn't working out and replaced her with the team's fifth player/coach Janet Arnott. Jones won another provincial championship in 2007, earning her a berth at the 2007 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Jones made the playoffs again, but lost to Kelly Scott again, this time in the semi-final. During the off-season, Jones switched leads again, gaining Dawn Askin who had moved from Ottawa looking for a team from Jenn Hanna's rink. Jones won her first Canada Cup of Curling on March 17, 2007 with three wins and two losses.
After a bittersweet 2009/2010 curling season in which Jennifer Jones' rink won the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. They went 8-3 in the round robin and won the Page Playoff game 8-5 against Kathy O'Rouke of Prince Edward Island which took them to the finals. Erin Carmody's team managed to tie the game. Jones then knocked the opposing team's stone out of the four-foot and won her third consecutive Canadian Championships. They also took bronze in the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championship, and lost out in the 2010 Players' Championships, the team decided to replace third Cathy Overton-Clapham, replacing her with the younger Kaitlyn Lawes in time for the 2010/2011 curling season.
World Championship success
In the 2007/2008 curling season Jones celebrated several successes including winning the 2007 Autumn Gold Grand Slam as well as the 2008 Manitoba Provincial Championship. Winning the 2008 Manitoba Provincial Championship qualified her to represent the province at the 2008 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Regina, Saskatchewan. Jones got off to a slow start, having just a 3–4 record to start off the week, but then gotten four consecutive wins for a 7-4 record which earned a spot in the tiebreaker match where she defeated Newfoundland and Labrador's Heather Strong by a score of 6–3. In the first playoff game, Jones edged Québec skip Marie-France Larouche with a score of 6–5. She advanced to the semi-finals, where she defeated Ontario's Sherry Middaugh 9–8 by stealing a point in the extra end. In the final, Jones faced Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink. In the semi-finals, they beat Ontario's Sherry Middaugh 9-8 which gave them a spot in the finals against 2006 Olympic Bronze medallist Shannon Klëibrink. In the final stone, Klëibrink had the opportunity to score a big end for the win but only managed to knock out one Manitoba Stone giving Jones' team a 6-4 victory and was crowned Canadian Champions for the second time.
Because of the win at the Canadian Championships, Jones got to compete at the 2008 World Women's Curling Championship in Vernon, British Columbia. This time, they had access to the top coaches, athletic therapists and sports psychologists like Dr. Cal Botterill. During the round robin, Canada was defeated by Bingyu Wang of China. They were down 6-1 in four ends to Debbie McCormick of America when coach Janet Arnott delivered a speech. TSN analyst Cathy Gauthier said "I heard Janet say something once and it really struck in my head". The Canadians made a comeback winning that game 10-9 and winning every game after that except to Angelina Jensen from Denmark which they lost 6-3. They also lost to China again. After a comeback, Jones made it into the finals and defeated China to capture her first World Championship by a score of 7–4. Jones finished the week with an overall record of 11–3.
In 2009, Jennifer Jones and her team competed at the 2009 Tournament of Hearts. They went on a record of 7-4 which lead to a tiebreaker match against Rebecca Jean MacPhee of Prince Edward Island. They found themselves losing 3-0 but won 6-5. They beat Quebec's Marie-France 12-8 in the semi finals and beat Marla Mallett from British Columbia to 8-5 to win her second consecutive title. The win at the Scotties sent the Jones rink back to the World Championship. But as in 2005, the outcome was disappointing. Jones was defeated in the bronze medal game by Angelina Jensen from Denmark. She ended the season by winning her third Players' Championship.
Jones participated in the 2009 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in mid December, there the team played a 2-5 record and ended up tied for sixth place and off of the playoffs. She later revealed that she was sick all week unable to play well. "We worked really, really hard and wanted to excel at this event, but it just didn't work out," Jones told reporters.
Jennifer Jones and team again returned to the Scotties as defending champions, Team Canada. In the round robin, the team managed to finish tied for first but second overall to upstart PEI with an 8–3 record. The page 1 vs 2 playoff featured PEI facing Jennifer Jones which saw Jones winning and through to the final. PEI would go on to beat Ontario in the semifinal to force a rematch of the 1 vs 2 page playoff. In the finals, PEI was winning 6–3 through 6 ends. Jones stole a point in the eighth and two more in the ninth to make it 7-6 for Team Canada. P.E.I tied the game with a single point in the tenth forcing an 11th end. Finally, Jones picked a yellow P.E.I stone out of the four-foot in the extra end to win the tournament, completing another Scotties comeback, and secured her 3rd consecutive Tournament of Hearts victory and 4th STOH victory in total. "It's pretty incredible and the way we won, the way we came back," said Jones.
Jones third win in a row put her in the elite company of Vera Pezer and Colleen Jones (no relation to Jennifer) as the only skips to have won three Tournament of Hearts in a row. As this was also her 4th win in total she and second Jill Officer became part of a group of 4 to have won 4 Scotties, they joined Vera Pezer and Lee Morrison of Saskatoon. The win was Cathy Overton-Clapham's 5th in total this moved her one off Colleen Jones in the record book and alongside the legendary Joyce McKee of Saskatchewan and Nova Scotians Mary Anne Arsenault, Nancy Delahunt and Kim Kelly.
At the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championship, after finishing the round robin with a 10–1 record, she lost all her playoff games, except the bronze medal final against Sweden. With that bronze, Jones claimed her second world championship medal in four tries.
Jones competed at the 2013 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials where she managed to qualify as the top seed through the round robin play which meant the team went directly to the finals. There she defeated Sherry Middaugh eight to four and won the right to represent Canada at the Olympics for the first time. She skipped the Canadian women's team at the 2014 Winter Olympics to a Gold medal. Jones is the first ever female skip in Olympic history to be undefeated throughout the tournament. The only male skip to achieve it being fellow Canadian Kevin Martin in 2010. After the win she said that "We're Olympic gold medallists. It's something that you dream of for your entire life. It's what every athlete wants to do and we did it today. And we did it in a way where we played so consistent all week. On the biggest stage for sport, we came out and played our best. And I'm so so proud of us."
From October 29 to November 2, Jones participated at the 2014 Masters Grand Slam of Curling. Jones was beat by skip Allison Flaxey of Ontario 6-1 in draw one. Jones still managed to get to the playoffs, and had beaten skip Sherry Middaugh in the quarter finals 6-5. In the semi-finals, she lost to skip Margaretha Sigfridsson and was eliminated from the tournament. Down to 4-3, Jones scored a point to tie the game. However, Sigfridsson broke the tie by finishing the game 5-4.
Grand Slam record
Jones has won a career 11 Grand Slam victories since the women's grand slam was introduced in 2006, more than any other female skip.
|F||Lost in Final|
|SF||Lost in Semifinal|
|QF||Lost in Quarterfinals|
|R16||Lost in the round of 16|
|Q||Did not advance to playoffs|
|T2||Played in Tier 2 event|
|DNP||Did not participate in event|
|N/A||Not a Grand Slam event that season|
|Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries||F||F||QF||F||QF||QF||DNP||C||N/A||N/A|
Note: Jones did not play at the beginning of the 2012–13 season due to her pregnancy. She returned to the team in January, in time for that year's Players' slam.
- ^ Jones was on maternity leave for the beginning of the 2012–13 curling season, and returned to her team in January 2013.
- ^ McEwen is currently on maternity leave for the beginning of the 2015–16 curling season, and is expected to return to the team in November 2015.
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