Curler Schafer content with fifth-woman role in countdown to PyeongChang

Schafer content with fifth-woman role in countdown to PyeongChang
By Sportsbeat

01/11/2017 at 18:55Updated 01/11/2017 at 19:30

Make no mistake, Kelly Schafer knows more than anyone that if her time on the PyeongChang ice is limited next year, things will have gone to plan.

But if anyone thought that would take away from her enjoyment of being the alternate in Team GB's curling team, they would be very much mistaken.

By her own admission, Schafer is someone who lives and breathes curling – a personality trait that is almost a requisite for a curler fifth in the four-woman rink.

But, as the countdown to PyeongChang hits the 100-days-to-go mark, her preparations for the Winter Olympic Games are only going in one direction.

"I need to be familiar with the roles and responsibilities of each player, recognising that in unforeseen circumstances I may be called upon to step into that position," she told British Curling.

"We have worked on ensuring that I have games in each position so that we can expect a seamless transition for the team should I have to play."

"It is important to maintain what each player brings to the team so that we can only strengthen and not unsettle the dynamic that can arise with bringing in an alternate player."

But the route back to the elite level of Scottish curling has not always been one that has run smoothly for Schafer.

Upon marrying husband Jerrod, the 36-year-old relocated to Canada in a bid for citizenship, a national requirement to compete in World Championships and Winter Olympics.

But with that proving unsuccessful, Schafer jumped at the chance to rejoin Eve Muirhead's rink as a temporary injury replacement for Anna Sloan last year, reigniting dreams that she had previously feared had gone.

So with PyeongChang getting ever nearer, it is little surprise that the two-time Olympian from Turin and Vancouver is grabbing every chance with both hands.

"Someone once told me that if they were to split me in half they would be sure that curling would be at the very core of me," she continued.

"I live for this sport and to have the opportunity to compete at this level again, flying the flag for Great Britain is not something I could ever turn down."

"When leaving for Canada I never thought I would have the opportunity to compete again, but I continued to train as if I was a competitor secretly hoping that an opportunity would arise." Sportsbeat 2017

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