2014 Sochi Olympics


Team Jacobs


Jacobs's Olympic quest underway

Jacobs's Olympic quest is underway in Kitchener, ON.


Many people are counting the days with a little more than three months until the Olympic torch is lit in Sochi, Russia, on Feb. 7, to begin the 2014 Winter Games.

Sault Ste. Marie's Brad Jacobs rink is counting the days until Olympic pre-trials today through Sunday in Kitchener.

Twelve men's and 12 women's teams from across the country will take to the ice today through Sunday, at pre-trials at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex.

The top two teams of each gender at will advance to the Olympic trials in Winnipeg in December, with the first-place rinks representing Canada in Sochi.

The Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings begins in Kitchener on Tuesday, and Jacobs says his rink ‑ with lead Ryan Harnden, second E.J. Harnden and third Ryan Fry ‑ is primed for the triple-elimination tournament, even though the group has sputtered a little recently.

“We've played a lot of great teams. We've won a couple events this year, (but) we've slipped as of late. And honestly, I think we can chalk it up to fatigue lately,” Jacobs said earlier this week.

Jacobs has been to five World Curling Tour events so far this season. He won the first two, finished third at the next one and was forced to settle for fifth place in the most recent events.

He said the past two tournaments were a wake-up call.

“We qualified for the playoffs in both of the tournaments and then lost. It was definitely a hard pill to swallow,” said the Sault skip.

The group began the 2013-14 curling season with considerably more confidence this season after winning the Brier (Canadian men's championship) last season, and a silver medal at the World Championships.

“And because of that I do think our expectations are a little higher. So when we don't go and win a World Curling Tour event, we are pretty devastated.”

However, Jacob also says the group is realistic.

“You're not going to win every game that you play, you're not going to win every tournament,” he says.

How does he assess his rink's most recent performance at the Challenge Chateau Cartier de Gatineau, in Gatineau, Que.?

“Not very good. We were kind of up and down like a yo-yo. We ended up making the qualifying round and losing to (Brad) Gushue in the quarters.”

Jacobs decided not to attend the Masters Grand Slam of curling event being held in Abbotsford, B.C., this week.

“It's very difficult to go to every single World Curling Tour event mentally and physically prepared and ready to go when you're working 40, 50 hours per week,” he said.

Jacobs and company now have a week off to prepare and practice at their home rink, Soo Curlers Association, before heading to Kitchener.

Being at home is exactly what the group needs right now, Jacobs said.

“We can hang out as a team outside of competition ... We can talk about things. Going into the pre-trials I know that we're going to be ready.”

Jacobs has attempted to play as many quality matches as possible leading into the pre-trials next week.

“And hopefully into the (Olympic) trials, if we can manage to get through (the pre-trials), and give ourselves the best chance at winning those two events.”

Alberta's Kevin Martin skipped the Canadian men to gold at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Martin will not be at the pre-trials next week.

However, Newfoundland/Labrador's Brad Gushue will be in Kitchener. He skipped his team to gold at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy.

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