Because of COVID-19, Curler believes it will be a “different Olympics.”
Even if COVID-19 protocols make it impossible for them to see each other, Charlottetown-born curler Brett Gallant thinks competing in the Olympics will be a dream come true for him and his fiancée, Jocelyn Peterman.
Gallant will be joining Brad Gushue’s team in Beijing this winter. Following a close match during Olympic curling tryouts in Saskatchewan this November, the Newfoundland and Labrador team qualified for the games.
Following a nail-biter in the women’s final, Peterman, a member of the Jennifer Jones rink from Manitoba, qualified for the Games as well.
“For me, that was extremely nerve-wracking,” Gallant added. “I simply remember how relieved and excited I was when they finally won, and how proud I was of her.”
This will be the first time the two of them have competed in an Olympic event. However, Gallant believes the pair will be unable to enjoy the time together because of the global pandemic.
“I’m sure contact will be quite limited once the event starts,” he remarked. “We’ll just have to see what the constraints are like.” If we’re able to watch each other play, that would be ideal. Or, if that isn’t possible, it’s simply something we don’t have to deal with.
“It’s exciting enough just knowing she’s there, going through it, and will feel the same thing. We’ll surely have a lot of catching up to do once the event is complete.”
First and foremost, Gallant stated that the squad will do everything possible to stay safe during the tournament. He described recent competition in a bubble-like environment as a “trial run” for what the big event will be like.
“It will definitely be a different Olympic Games,” he said, “but we’ll just follow all the protocols and recommendations and stay safe.”
After numerous athletes tested positive with COVID-19, the Canadian mixed doubles trial was just cancelled. Curling Canada will instead pick a team to compete in the Olympics on behalf of the country.
Gallant, who has previously competed in national mixed doubles events with Peterman, described the situation as “devastating” for the athletes.
“You put in a lot of effort over a four-year period in preparation for the Olympic trials.” It’s difficult for the teams not to have the opportunity to compete for that slot,” he remarked.
“I believe we were simply thankful that we weren’t in that circumstance because we knew how difficult it would be.”