Jennifer Jones, a star with the Canadian curling team, has a strong supporter on hand in Sochi–her boyfriend Brett Laing. The pair aren’t married as rumored, but they do have a child together, Isabella Liang.
Laing is also a curler who narrowly missed qualifying for the men’s team in the trials in December.
But he still traveled to the Winter Games to support Jones. The couple had Isabella in late 2012, which forced Jones to take time away from curling. She was also recovering from knee surgery around that time.
Laing appreciates being at the Olympics but it’s bittersweet.
“I hate it,” he told the Toronto Sun while watching Jones. “It’s really hard to watch. It’s so much harder because you have no control. It’s much harder to watch than it is to play. When you’re playing you are in the heat of the moment and you have some control. It’s probably a man thing, the lack of control sucks.”
But he acknowledged that the next best thing to competing in the games himself is supporting his partner (as well as watching some of the men’s games–they also made it to the finals).
“It’s a pretty good consolation prize, having Jen here and being able to come over and watch them and experience the Olympics,” Laing said. “It’s obviously not from the side of the boards that I’d want to be on but, in any event, I’m super excited to be here. It’s definitely nerve-wracking though.”
Laing, in the center with the white shirt, cheers after the Canadian men’s team score a goal. (Twitter/jeffgerard)
Laing was sitting with family members of the women’s team, including Mike McEwen, who also didn’t make the cut for the men’s team, but whose partner–wife Dawn McEwen–also made the cut for the women’s team.
“It’s a surreal experience just being a spectator for the Olympics and watching your spouse playing just adds another dimension,” McEwen said.
Jones is appreciative of the support amid the women’s team remaining unbeaten through the finals, where they’ll face Sweden.
“They’ve sacrificed as much as we have so we can play in this event,” Jones said. “And with Brent here I can talk to him after the game and get his opinion on things and he’s definitely helped me be the player I am today.”
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
That advice helped Canada win on Wednesday over world champion Britain.
“It’s the game you have dreamed of for your entire life,” Jones told the AP. Jones beat opponent Margaretha Sigfridsson 9-3 early in the round robin in just eight ends. She also finished the game with a clean shot to seal the victory, leaving her with 89 percent accuracy.
“To make a big team shot to win,” Jones said. “You couldn’t have scripted it any better.”