Jones emerged from 'dark side' unscathed

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Olympic reporting experience provided Jones a different perspective

Jennifer Jones is more than ready to stop being a curling reporter and start throwing rocks again. For a third straight year, Jones and teammates Cathy Overton Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin are representing Canada at the women's world curling championship, which opens Saturday in Swift Current, Sask.

Jones's Winnipeg foursome didn't win the Olympic trials in December. Cheryl Bernard's team from Calgary captured the berth and earned a silver medal in Vancouver last month.

This will be Jones' fourth trip to the world women's curling championship. - Canadian Press file photo

Jennifer Jones is more than ready to stop being a curling reporter and start throwing rocks again. For a third straight year, Jones and teammates Cathy Overton Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin are representing Canada at the women's world curling championship, which opens Saturday in Swift Current, Sask.

Jones's Winnipeg foursome didn't win the Olympic trials in December. Cheryl Bernard's team from Calgary captured the berth and earned a silver medal in Vancouver last month.

So Jones's Olympic experience was that of a celebrity reporter. She produced curling content for Yahoo, went to Cypress Mountain to watch freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau win Canada's first gold medal and gave singer Michael Buble curling lessons.

"So many people call it the dark side," Jones said of her journalism stint.

"I find that funny. The dark side was actually not so dark."

She said it was interesting to have a different perspective on the Games.

"I saw Alex Bilodeau win his medal and that was probably my highlight because it was such an exciting moment in Canadian sport history," she said. "It was pretty cool I've got to tell you. People were jumping up and down and spraying their beers."

While Jones would rather have been curling for Olympic gold, she says she didn't feel pangs of regret watching Bernard's team compete.

"I wasn't sure what it would be like to go there and not be playing, but it surprisingly was pretty good," she said.

"I'm not going to lie. It would have been fun to be on the ice, but it was easier than I thought it would be."

Her analysis of Olympic curling games allowed the 35-year-old corporate lawyer to scout many teams who will be her opposition in Swift Current. Denmark, Germany, Japan, Russia, China and Scotland will field largely the same teams in the worlds as they did at the Games.

Anette Norberg's Olympic gold-medal team from Sweden will not be in Swift Current, however. Norberg passed on the world championship to focus on the Olympics, so the berth went to national runner-up Cecilia Ostlund.

From the 12-team field, the top four advance to the playoff round. The semifinal is March 27 and the final is March 28.

The men's world championship is April 3-11 in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, where Kevin Koe's Edmonton rink will wear the Maple Leaf.

Canada has won 15 world titles in the 31-year history of the women's tournament, which is more than any other country.

Jones, Overton-Clapham and Officer have played in three world championships (2005, 2008, 2009). Askin joined the team in 2007 and they won their first world title together in Vernon, B.C., in 2008. Jones finished out of the medals in Paisley, Scotland (2005), and Gangneung, South Korea (2009).

That record indicates Jones performs better amid the comforts of home than abroad, but she feels her team played well in the preliminary round in South Korea last year before going cold in the playoffs. Jones also points out that her team won tournaments in Switzlerland in January and in Norway last September.

Canada's chief rival for gold is expected to be defending champion Bingyu Wang of China, who won a bronze medal at the Olympics. Jones beat Wang in the 2008 final in Vernon. Wang then defeated Norberg in last year's final in South Korea.

"China didn't play very well at the Olympics," Jones said. "It wasn't the Chinese team we were used to seeing, but they played very well in the bronze medal and I expect they're going to come back and play the way they've played in the past."

Canada and China meet Monday. Jones opens Saturday night against Sweden's Ostlund.

As for coaching Buble in the art of curling, Jones says the crooner showed potential. Buble also has the vocal chords for urging sweepers onto the rock. She doesn't expect Buble to respond with a lesson in kind.

"No singing lessons," Jones said. "I don't think I've got any hope in that department."

Organizations: Games, Olympics, Yahoo

Geographic location: Canada, China, Swift Current, Sask. Winnipeg Calgary Vancouver Cypress Mountain Swift Current Scotland Sweden South Korea Vernon Denmark Germany Japan Russia Cortina D'Ampezzo Italy Edmonton Maple Leaf Paisley Switzlerland Norway

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