Born and raised in Winnipeg, Ms. Jennifer Jones grew up watching her parents curl at the local rink in their Windsor Park neighbourhood and by age 11, she started playing the popular winter sport in earnest.
At first, her participation was a means to overcome the shyness she felt as a child, but soon it became clear she possessed remarkable skills on the ice. By age 16, she had won her first of three Manitoba Junior Championships. She is a seven-time provincial champion with an inaugural win in 2002; a five-time Canadian champion with her first victory in 2005; and has achieved bronze, silver and gold medals at the world curling championships.
In 2014, Ms. Jones stepped atop the ultimate podium to receive her Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia. By then the face of women’s curling in Canada, Ms. Jones led her team to a continuous run of victories in the 11-game Olympic tournament, a feat that had never before been accomplished by a female skip.
Ms. Jones had first set the curling world on fire one decade earlier during the Scott Tournament of Hearts, when she made what has become known as “The Shot”. Under tremendous pressure, she completed a difficult in-out maneuver to secure four points, claiming not only a game victory but her first national title. It had teammates cheering and fans across Canada trying to re-enact the spectacular move characterized by one announcer as “the best shot I’ve ever seen to win a game”.
She brings the skills she acquired through elite sport to her role as a corporate lawyer. Ms. Jones completed her bachelors of arts in 1996 and a law degree three years later at the University of Manitoba. She is currently a senior advisor and community ambassador at National Bank Financial.
Ms. Jones offers mentorship to young athletes through the organization Fuelling Women Champions, which aims to keep teenaged girls engaged in organized sport given the many benefits to their physical health and emotional well-being. Ms. Jones also serves on the board of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation and initiated the popular Celebrity Human Race, which has raised more than $2.8 million to improve facilities and patient care.
Team Jones will attempt an Olympic repeat in South Korea in 2018. Ms. Jones was inducted into the Order of Manitoba in 2014, and most recently in 2017 was declared a recipient of a Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal.
The University of Manitoba is proud to award a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, to Ms. Jennifer Jones for setting the bar not only in sport, but in mentorship and strengthening community.