Jennifer Jones didn't let up after winning her first Olympic women's curling title last year in Sochi.
She has been in peak form throughout the current campaign and recently added her fifth career Scotties Tournament of Hearts title to her stacked resume. Next up for Jones and her Winnipeg teammates: a shot at Canadian curling history.
Jones has a chance to become the first reigning Olympic champion to win Canadian and world championships the following season. She'll go for the rare trifecta at the world women's curling championship, which kicks off Saturday in Sapporo, Japan.
"I haven't really thought of that, but I just honestly pinch myself," Jones said in a recent interview. "I can't believe all of the success that we've had. We worked so hard and to have it all come to fruition, it's just unbelievable.
"To have the honour to represent Canada at the world championship is just truly special and we're so honoured."
Jones and her team of lead Dawn McEwen, second Jill Officer and third Kaitlyn Lawes did not compete at last year's national playdowns as they overlapped with the Winter Olympics. Ottawa's Rachel Homan won the 2014 Scotties and then took silver at the world championship after losing to Switzerland's Binia Feltscher in the final.
A Canadian team hasn't won gold at the women's worlds since Jones took the 2008 title with Cathy Overton-Clapham at third. Lawes replaced Overton-Clapham in 2010.
The late Sandra Schmirler was the only other Canadian women's skip to hold all three titles at the same time. She won national and world championships in 1997 before winning Olympic gold at the Nagano Games the following year.
Jones will have some stiff competition at the 12-team event at the 2,321-seat Tsukisamu Gymnasium.
Russian veteran Anna Sidorova is back and Sweden will again be skipped by four-time world silver medallist Margaretha Sigfridsson. Eve Muirhead, who beat Homan en route to a world title in 2013, will lead the Scotland entry.
Alina Paetz will handle skipping duties for Switzerland this year. She won a world championship as Mirjam Ott's alternate in 2012.
"It's a tremendous field with so many of the teams from the Olympics," Jones said. "So we're expecting it to be very tough and we know that we're going to have to play our very best in order to make it to the playoffs.
"It's similar to the Scotties, where you know that you're going to have to play your best. We have so much respect for the teams. At the end of the day, we just want to go out there and do our best and hopefully that's good enough."
Denmark skip Lene Nielsen will be making her sixth career world championship appearance. Kristin Moen Skaslien will represent Norway for the fifth time at this event but first as skip.
Japan received an automatic entry as the host country. Other teams in the field include the United States, Finland, China and Germany.
A round-robin format will be used with the top four teams moving on to the Page Playoffs. The final is set for March 22.
Jones won a world silver in 2010. She made her world championship debut in 2005 but didn't make the podium that year.
"We've learned and grown so much (since then)," Jones said. "We have a lot more experience but we've also worked so much harder on our game and we know what to expect. I feel like we're a lot more consistent than we were back then.
"We have just evolved as a team in pretty much every aspect of the game."
Canada leads all countries with 15 gold medals and 31 podium appearances at the world championship since 1979. Sweden is next with eight gold and 23 medals in total.
Jones has won five events this season and holds the top spot on the Canadian Team Ranking System list.
"I remember being at the Olympics and saying to myself, 'Just enjoy every second of this because it's a once in a lifetime moment,'" she said. "And you never know if it's going to be that last opportunity to put that Maple Leaf on your back. I just always want to make sure that we enjoy what we do and have some memories that are going to last a lifetime."
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