Sometime in the winter of 2011, Red Deer’s Jocelyn Peterman was at a curling camp and got a visit from Olympian Cheryl Bernard.
Bernard skipped Canada to silver at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and came out to speak to the young curlers.
Peterman was a teenager at the time but distinctly remembers what one coach told the group after that meeting.
“I just remember being so inspired by her conversation. I remember one of our coaches at that camp saying ‘you guys better listen to her, one person in this room might achieve the same things as her,’” Peterman recalled.
“I remember thinking, that’s going to be me. I have to be that one person!”
The now 28-year-old has dreamt of the Olympics for as long as she’s been curling and next month, she’ll finally have her first chance to compete at the Games.
Peterman and her Jennifer Jones rink won the right to compete in Beijing late last year, winning the title at the Canadian Trials in thrilling fashion.
“It’s pretty surreal actually. After we won, I couldn’t sleep for like two days I was so excited,” she said with a laugh.
“So maybe it was sinking in then. It’s just been cool to learn all about the Olympic prep and obviously this year is a bit unique. I think it will feel a lot more real when we finally touch down there.”
At the Canadian Olympics trials in Saskatoon in November, with a trip to the Olympics on the line, it was Peterman and her Jones team that came out on top.
The win wasn’t without a lack of drama, though.
They won 6-5 in an extra end after Manitoba’s Tracy Fleury hit a guard with her last rock to give a point and the win to the Jones’ side.
Fleury also missed a shot in the 10th end with hammer that would have sent her team to the Olympics.
Peterman said those moments just helped build the resolve of their team.
“I was really proud of the team in general, how we were able to perform, even in the 10th end. When we missed the last shot, just to be able to come together and we always say, eight good ones is all we need,” she said.
“We were able to come together for eight good shots and it worked out.”
With their Olympic berth secured, the team immediately turned to preparing.
They convened in Barrie, Ont., about two weeks ago and will leave for Beijing on Feb. 3. The women’s Olympic curling competition starts on Feb. 10, following the conclusion of the mixed curling event.
“It’s exciting. It’s a weird training and lead up to it then 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, who is a second on Team Jones is well aware that excitement is already building back home. She knows that support will carry her when they finally hit the ice to compete.
“It will be good to feel their support, even though it’s a long way away. I know they’ll probably be converting to Beijing time for the couple weeks while we’re there,” she said about her parents.
“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.”
In addition, she’ll have her fiancé, Brett Gallant alongside her at the games. Gallant curls with Brad Gushue’s rink and they also won the Olympic trials.
“After we won, there was a little bit of nervousness for the rest of the night watching their game and really hoping they could go with us,” she said.
“I just would have been so disappointed if we were going without him. It’s really cool that we both get to go and do this together.”
Even with that support, she knows the world will be watching. She hopes young curlers and curlers around the world and especially back home in central Alberta can be inspired by her team’s performance in Beijing.
“It’s pretty awesome to have that belief in yourself and be able to train and play a game that you love. If you work hard, you never know what can happen,” she said.
“I hope people watching – young curlers in Red Deer are inspired and hopefully stick with the sport.”