Charlottetown-born curler Brett Gallant says competing in the Olympics will be a dream come true for him and his fiancée, Jocelyn Peterman, even if COVID-19 protocols will make it difficult for them to see each other.
Gallant will be heading to Beijing this winter as part of Brad Gushue’s team. The Newfoundland and Labrador team qualified for the games following a close match during Olympic curling trials in Saskatchewan this November.
Peterman, who’s a member of the Jennifer Jones rink out of Manitoba, also qualified for the Games following a nail-biter in the women’s final.
“That was super nerve-wracking for me,” Gallant said. “I just remember the relief and excitement and how proud I was of her when they did win.”
This will be the first time the two of them will be participating in the Olympics. But Gallant said the global pandemic will probably make it so the couple won’t be able to bask in the moment together.
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“Once the event begins, I’m sure contact will be, you know, fairly limited,” he said. “We’ll just see what the restrictions are like, you know. If we’re able to maybe watch each other play. Or if there’s no chance of that, it’s just something we don’t have to deal with.
“Just knowing that she’s there and she’s going through it and she’s going to experience the same thing and it’s exciting enough, you know. We’ll definitely have lots to catch up on after the event is over as well.”
Gallant said the team will make sure to do everything it can to stay safe during the event. He said competing in a bubble-like atmosphere during recent times has been sort of a “trial run” for what the big event will be like.
“It will be a different Olympic Games for sure, but we’ll just follow all the protocols and all the advice and we’ll stay safe,” he said.
The Canadian mixed doubles trial was recently cancelled after multiple athletes tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, Curling Canada will be selecting a team to represent the country in the Olympics.
Gallant, who along with Peterman has previously represented Canada in national mixed doubles competitions, said the situation is devastating for the athletes.
“You really work for a whole four-year cycle looking up to those Olympic trials. For the teams, just not to have the opportunity to compete for that spot, it’s certainly tough,” he said.
“We were just, I guess, grateful that we weren’t in that situation because of how hard it would be. And I know now curling Canada is going to have a tough decision picking from the teams that were eligible to compete there.”
But for Gallant and Peterman at least, the Olympics are just the beginning. The couple will be also getting married in P.E.I. next June.
“We have been building up to the Olympic Games for the last few years and curling has sort of been a priority in our lives over that time,” he said.
“So I think once the Olympics are finished to be able to unwind a little bit, tie the knot and start our lives as a married couple, it’s obviously pretty exciting.”