Team Jacobs eyes early Olympic qualification

While things are changing both professionally and personally for Olympic curling champion Brad Jacobs and his teammates, their focus remains the 2018 Winter Games.

'We don't want to wait until the last minute'

Canadian curlers E.J. Harnden, Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry and Ryan Harnden winning gold at Sochi, a moment they're currently working to recreate at Pyeongchang 2018. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Perspectives and processes may have changed since Team Jacobs won the Players' Championship Grand Slam of Curling last April, but the team tells CBC Sports it has one long term goal in mind: defending their Olympic gold medal.

The team is currently in Toronto competing at this weekend's High Park Club event. 

In the past year, the team has welcomed not one, but two babies. Brad Jacobs' daughter was born in January and E.J. Harnden welcomed another baby girl just four months later, making Ryan Harnden an uncle for the first time. 

"It does change things a little bit," Harnden said, in terms of how his daughter's birth has changed his mental approach to the game.

"It almost makes you think more intense, more focused," he said. "It just enhances that mindset that you want to make every single shot count because there's even more at stake.

"But it also allows you to get over the small things a little bit quicker," Harnden said.

"It almost forces you to get over the tough defeats a little bit quicker because you're so happy to go home and see your family and see your child."

Personal gains positively effect entire team

With so much having changed in Harnden's and Jacobs' personal lives, Ryan Fry says that atmosphere is shared amongst the entire team. 

"We're such a tight team, being that three of the guys are family to begin with and I fit right in," Fry said.

"Everything that everyone's doing in their personal lives, I think we kind of take that as accomplishments for ourselves."

In addition to the team members' home lives, new coach Caleb Flaxey was welcomed aboard in September. While the team is currently working to find new and better ways to operate, one thing has stayed consistent amongst the changing dynamics.

"We try to approach every tournament wanting to win," Harnden said.

Team wants early qualification to Olympic trials 

At this point in the curling season, Team Jacobs is starting to ramp things up with long-term and short-term goals being one and the same. Each and every tournament is taken seriously, as there are implications for qualifying for the 2017 Olympic trials.

"Curling is very different in the fact that we do have to qualify over a two year process to get a spot," Fry said.

"Where we were in 2014, to win the trials we know we're going to have to be even better than that to be able to represent Canada for the 2018 Olympics."

"But we don't want to wait until the last minute," E.J. Harnden said."We want to get in early."

"We want to give ourselves that comfort that we're in the Olympic trials, that we know we're going to be where we want to be to defend our gold medal."


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