Manotick curler Jamie Sinclair thriving with U.S. rink
BY JOE PAVIA
Jamie Sinclair. (Rich Harmer, USA Curling)
Her dreams are all coming true.
Manotick’s Jamie Sinclair is now a professional curler and will skip in the World Financial Group Continental Cup next month in Las Vegas.
“It’s really good to be able to live the dream. That’s what I always dreamt of when I was a kid going around and competing on the tour,” Sinclair said from her apartment in St. Paul, Minn., where she now resides.
As a youngster, she remembers seeing a Continental Cup shirt on the prize table.
“It had the Canadian and American flag on it so it was perfect. I need it … I am beyond excited to play in it. I don’t even have words to describe how excited I am. So to have my name on that jersey is exciting.”
Sinclair holds dual U.S./Canadian citizenship. She was born in Anchorage, Alaska, where her father Graham (a two-time Ontario senior curling champion) was on a military exchange for two years. After a three-year streak where she won back-to-back Ontario junior titles (2012 and 2013) and the national women’s university championship in 2014, she headed for the U.S.
She finds curling in the U.S. challenging in some respects — such as acquiring sponsors.
“We go out and try to find our own sponsorship to pay for things not covered,” Sinclair said. “It is definitely a challenge as far as sponsorship goes because it’s not such as big a sport as it is in Canada.”
Ironically, the fact that the sport isn’t as big as it is here has given her opportunities.
“Everything is paid for by the U.S. curling association,” Sinclair said. “We are part of the high-performance program. They sponsor three women’s teams and three men’s teams. It sounds bad but if I stayed in Canada I wouldn’t have as many opportunities as I do down here — and the Continental Cup being one of those.”
The 24-year-old skip is working with her first-year team which has not done badly on the tour this season so far. They have amassed just over $10,000 in prize money through qualifying, three semifinals and one runner-up appearance.
The squad also features Alexandra Carlson, Vicky Persinger and Monica Walker.
“It’s our first year together as a team so we are taking it slow and kind of a building year for us. We are trying to see how the team works together. Our goal is the Olympic trials in November 2017,” Sinclair said of a squad with an average of 26.
Sinclair wants to help grow the sport. She is impressed how many facilities and clubs are opening in the states. “
There’s curling clubs opening everywhere, even in places you wouldn’t even expect it,” she said. “It’s awesome.”
Sinclair also makes a series of videos about curling fundamentals called Curling Up With Jamie.
“One of the highlights is reading the comments from people thanking me for putting those out there. It blows my mind even how people from other countries watch them,” she said.
Sinclair really lives out of a suitcase.
“I have my apartment here but it’s really just kind of like a home base. I come home after a spiel, I do laundry and sleep and repack what I just washed,” she said. “I kind of love it, though. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Senior men’s winners to advance to provincial qualifiers were: Brian Lewis, Howard Rajala, Dwayne Lowe, Rick Soucy and Bill Duck.
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