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95 days to Sochi: Road to the Roar

Team Brad Jacobs Road to the Olympics is under way.

ORIGINAL SOURCE: http://www.sportsnet.ca/curling/95-days-to-sochi-road-to-the-roar/

 

The Olympic curling pretrials—Road to the Roar—are set to kick off tomorrow in Kitchener, Ont., where the top two teams will advance to Olympic qualification—Roar of the Rings. We caught up with 2013 Brier champ and Team Canada hopeful Brad Jacobs ahead of pretrials to talk about the tournament and the challenges his rink faces in advancing to their first Olympic Games.

Sportsnet: Does your approach and strategy change based on the event or tournament format? What will your rink be keying in on during pretrials?

Brad Jacobs: No, in terms of our strategy, I don’t think anything is going to change at all. We have our strengths and we try to stick to them, and that’s our main strategy. We’re a very good hitting team and we try to incorporate that a lot into our style of play. I think the main strategy is obviously trying to get other teams to play our style of game, not getting caught up in playing theirs. That’s something we try to do on a regular basis and will continue to strive for in pretrials.

SN: At this point there probably aren’t many surprises as far as the other teams are concerned.

BJ: We’re very familiar with all of the teams we’ll be playing against, and have played a lot of them this year already. We expect all of the teams to come out playing great in pretrials, but having said that our focus isn’t on the other teams, it’s on our own performance and performing well at each position on the team.

SN: There’s a notion that because of the number of high-calibre teams that will be at pretrials, advancing past this stage may almost be harder than the Olympics qualifications itself. Is there any truth to that?

BJ: Yeah, I’d say that statement is pretty accurate. I really think that the two teams that come out of the pre-trials will probably carry some momentum over to the Olympic trials. Our team that has done that in the past, taken a harder route and played more games, but it’s served us well. I’m really hoping that if we come out of the pretrials then these tough, extra-competitive games will serve us well going into the Olympic trials.

SN: How hard is it to not look at the big picture opportunity in place here—going to your first Olympics—when you’re just trying to look ahead to the next match? Or is that something that is always on your mind?

BJ: You know, we’ve played at a high-enough level now for enough years to know that we have to park the outcome and not even think about it. We just have to go out and stay in that moment, stay focused on making the next shot. That’sour mindset. What we always try to do is curl well at each individual position. If we can do that on a consistent basis I’m sure the winning and championships and everything will take care of itself.

SN: You’ve had a great season thus far, winning your first Briar in March. How does that compare to something like this?

BJ: I think that the Brier and the Olympics—and I’m just speaking for myself—are pretty equal, 50/50, in terms of the biggest events that you strive to win and compete in. Ever since we were all kids the Brier was it for us, that’s what we wanted play in and win. Over the past, I’d say, 10 years, the Olympics has become more popular and for a lot of teams that’s their sole focus—they’ll put together a team for a four-year run. For us we have a Brier championship under our belt now so the next thing to accomplish will be to represent Canada at the Olympics and win a gold medal. That’s our focus right now, that’s what’s up next.

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