Less than a year out from the unusual 2021 Olympic Summer Games, the world’s best athletes were at it again at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
COVID-19 was very much still on the minds of the competitors, organizers, and fans alike, but the games went off relatively smoothly.
A pair of Central Albertans, Jocelyn Peterman, 29, and Maddison Pearman, 26, competed for Canada in Beijing.
Both were making their debut at the games, with Peterman curling as second on Team Jennifer Jones.
Team Jones convened in Barrie, Ont., about two weeks before the games and left for Beijing on Feb. 3. The women’s Olympic curling competition started on Feb. 10, following the conclusion of the mixed curling event.
“It’s exciting. It’s a weird training and lead up to it than we would have expected or what we planned for when we won the trials. We’ve adjusted our plans and rolled with the punches. We’re on full lockdown to make sure that we can get there safely,” she said.
“Once we do that, it will be a bit of a relief and a lot more excitement once we’re there and we know we’re COVID-free and able to complete.”
Peterman and Canada ended up finishing fifth in the round-robin with a record of 5-4. Because of their draw shot challenge results, which were the lowest of the teams they were tied with, they ranked fifth overall, missing the playoffs. Peterman curled 78 per cent in her first Olympic appearance.
“It’s pretty crazy to think how many people have helped me along the way to grow so much as an athlete and to even be able to have this opportunity… it’s been really cool to just think of how many people have supported this belief and in achieving something like this in curling,” she said last January, before leaving for Beijing.
Pearman, who celebrated her 26th birthday just a month before the games, was on cloud nine when her name was called as a member of team Canada.
“I was in a good position, but it’s not real until it’s real. To get that initial email that says yes, you are going. I definitely cried. Called my parents, they cried. My sisters cried. Very amazing feeling,” Pearman at the time.
Pearman finished 26th in the 1,000 metre race and 24th in the 1,500m.
When she qualified, Pearman said the emotional experience allowed her to reflect on a career of dedication to the sport.
“It’s crazy to look back, even four years ago, barely trying to make the World Cup and now solidifying myself as one of the top 1,000 metre skaters in Canada and the top 15, feels pretty good,” she explained.
“Been a long battle. You kind of forget about coming from a small town. This is a big thing for a lot of people. It’s huge for myself too, but I know I’ve been working towards this… coming from a small town, people are really excited which is great to see and I’m really happy that I can do this and represent Ponoka and Red Deer.”
Since their Olympic showing in February, both athletes have also represented Canada on the world stage.