Just over 20 years ago, Sandra Schmirler, Jan Betker, Joan McCusker and Marcie Gudereit thrilled not only the city and the province with a gold medal in women’s curling at the Nagano Olympics, but a nation.
As the Tim Hortons Brier opened Saturday at the Brandt Centre, the team got back together with a special twist.
Betker, McCusker and Gudereit were joined on the ice by Sandra’s daughter Sara England for the ceremonial first shot. As one would expect, Sara pulled a shot out of her mothers arsenal as it was perfect. Her rock slid right down on top of the button much to the delight of those in attendance at the Brandt Centre including many former curlers who had represented Saskatchewan at the Canadian men’s curling championship.
— Mitchell Blair (@scruffyregina) March 3, 2018
For the 20-year-old England, it was a moment she will always remember.
That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” England said with an ear-to-ear grin on her face. “It was an emotional experience and I was honoured to be asked. It was awesome.”
England, who was the first woman to have the distinction of throwing the ceremonial first rock at the Brier, says there was no nerves.
“I was talking to Jan, Joan and Marcie beforehand and they gave me tips on how to handle it and throw it harder if I have to because they will stop it.
Sara’s father Shannon is one of the vice-chairs at the Tim Hortons Brier and he looked on with pride as both of his daughters had a key role in the opening ceremony with Jenna England performing “O’Canada”.
“It was very cool. It was like a passing of the torch.” England said. “There was a fatherly pride there as well as not only did Sara throw the first rock, but Jenna did a great job in singing the national anthem. It was a very proud moment for Dad.”