Kaitlyn Lawes says she could feel the support coming from her home curling club in Winnipeg all the way in Pyeongchang as she and John Morris played their way to the first Winter Games gold medal in mixed doubles curling on Tuesday.
"Everyone in Winnipeg, thank you so much for your support, and St. Vital Curling Club for helping our families come to cheer us on. We felt that support so much over here," said Lawes, 29,Tuesday evening, hours after she and John Morris routed Switzerland 10-3 in the Olympic final.
An ocean away, cheers erupted from fans gathered at the St. Vital club to watch the match when the pair clinched the win in the sixth end.
"I saw some videos from the curling club, and I know that I had some family friends there cheering us on so early, so we appreciate you getting on the Korean time zone with us. We couldn't do it without you. We're so grateful," Lawes said.
- Kaitlyn Lawes' home curling club erupts in cheers as she wins Olympic gold with John Morris
- Canada's Lawes, Morris win mixed doubles curling gold
Lawes said she and Morris had prepared themselves to battle it out against Switzerland until the eighth end.
"To be honest with you, we were preparing for it to come down to last rock and play all eight ends, so when they shook hands in the sixth end, we were a little bit in shock," she said.
"But we were just so proud that we were able to hang tough and be patient and take advantage of some of the small opportunities that they gave us."
'I'm so proud to represent the St. Vital Curling Club with my teammates and this one's for everyone back home.' - Kaitlyn Lawes
Since the win, Lawes said it's been a whirlwind, squeezing in multiple media appearances and a brief visit with family.
Her mom, brother and boyfriend are all in South Korea to cheer her on, she said.
"I'll remember having my family here and sliding over the Olympic rings and being able to look up and see their smiling, proud faces," Lawes said. "That's something that I want to remember for a lifetime and to share that with them is so special to me."
'I just love to play'
The victory also means Lawes and Morris are Canada's first two-time Olympic curling champions. Morris, 39, was an Olympic champion at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics playing third for the now-retired Kevin Martin, and Lawes won gold at the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia as vice for Jennifer Jones.
The 2014 win inspired a large mural on the side of the St. Vital Curling Club of Lawes and her team, but president Pamela Kok said Tuesday the painting may need an update to reflect Lawes's latest win.
"I'm so proud to represent the St. Vital Curling Club with my teammates and this one's for everyone back home," Lawes said when asked about the idea. "If they want to add another one up there, I'd be incredibly honoured."
Over the next few days, Lawes said she hopes to see more of Pyeongchang and cheer on other Canadians in the Games.
She said the high-stakes nature of the Olympics is one of the things she loves about it.
"To be honest, I just love to play, and I love the competition and I love that feeling of being nervous and getting butterflies," she said.
"That's what we play for, and I had that feeling all week, which I absolutely loved."