Canada's Brad Jacobs, Jennifer Jones prepping for Olympics at Continental Cup
Sunday, Jan 19, 2014 04:00 am
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The time for scouting is over. Brad Jacobs is using the Continental Cup to make sure his team is ready for the tournament that really matters.
Jacobs, who will represent Canada at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia next month, said he's just trying to prepare his team for curling's biggest stage.
Watching what other teams are up to isn't on the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native's agenda.
"We've played them before," said Jacobs on Sunday. "We focus on our game. Everyone's throwing the rock well right now, that's the main thing for our team. I really like what I see as skip from the other end.
"It's really nice to be here playing on this great ice surface in really serious competition that everyone's trying their hearts out at."
Jacobs skipped Team North America to a second straight Continental Cup championship with a 35-25 win over Thomas Ulsrud's Team World.
Team North America won the winner's cheque of $52,000 and a bonus of $13,000 for collecting the most points in the skins game Sunday, while the World team took home $26,000.
The victory was clinched in the sixth end when Ulsrud missed his final shot, giving Team North America a 4-1 win, and the half-point it needed to push it to the 30-point threshold in the overall standings.
Jacobs was joined at the Continental Cup on the women's side by Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones, who will also go to Sochi for Canada.
"I really don't know what to expect in Sochi," said Jacobs. "For this event the crowds and everything, phenomenal. Obviously the arena, I don't think is as big as this one over at the Olympics. There's a lot of Canadians here, it's really made this event a huge success so far."
Jacobs may not have been focusing on the competition but at least one of his opponents made sure to watch what Canada was doing.
Ulsrud, of Norway, captured silver at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. He said it was beneficial to play the Olympic contenders.
"The Canadian team are obviously a really good team, but we're going to have to make them work for it Sochi when they meet Norway," said Ulsrud.
"We couldn't have asked for more or for it (the week) to go any better," said Jones. "We just feel real good with the ice and how we're playing heading into Sochi."
But with the different format at the Continental Cup, Jones added she didn't get many new tips about her Olympic opponents.
"We know these teams really well. You know what to expect and you know you're going to have to play great to beat them," said Jones. "We've been training really well and feel like everything's going according to plan which is exactly what you want it to be heading into the Olympics."
Scotland's David Murdoch called it "quite unique" to see Olympic teams so close to the Games.
"You want to make sure you're throwing it nice and try to take some good form into the Olympics," said Murdoch.
Eve Muirhead, who won gold for Scotland at last year's women's world championship and will skip for Great Britain in Sochi, credited ice technician Hans Wuthrich for simulating the conditions at Sochi.
"You've got Hans making the ice, the same icemaker who is going to be at the Olympics," she said. "This was fantastic prep for the Games."
Muirhead's Team World lost 3-2 on Sunday to Team North America, skipped by Erika Brown of Oakville, Ont./Madison, Wisc. Brown will represent the United States in Sochi.
The Continental Cup features six teams from North America facing off against six World teams in various curling matches including traditional games, mixed doubles, singles and skins play.
In the mixed skins game, Team North America's Jeff Stoughton, Emma Miskew, Mark Nichols and Lisa Weagle rolled to a 4-1 win over Team World's David Murdoch, Satsuki Fujisawa, Scott Andrews and Miyo Ichikawa.