Lisa Weagle’s Journey to the Kitchissippi Times

Lisa Weagle stands in front of the rings in Beijing, China during her second Olympic Games. Photo courtesy of Lisa Weagle

By Charlie Senack

Lisa Weagle of Westboro is back from Beijing, China.

The 2022 Winter Games were the 37-year-old local curler’s second Olympic run. And although no medals were won, the experience was unforgettable.

Weagle was part of the Jennifer Jones team, and they ultimately finished 5th in the women’s round robin. She said just getting to the games is a major achievement in itself.

“We played really well, we had a few losses, we were very close to the playoffs, but we didn’t make it,” said the Westboro native. “Unfortunately, sometimes that’s how the sport is. There are a lot of good teams in the Olympics and everyone brings their best game. There are only three medals to win. I feel like we all did what we could to give our best performance.

Weagle competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, where “she led all round-robin heads in shooting 86%,” according to the Canadian Olympic Committee website.

Weagle felt disappointment after not winning an Olympic medal in 2018 under Team Homan, in which she served from 2010 to 2020. But entering the 2022 Games with a new team, she wanted to savor every moment .

“It was interesting to do an Olympic experience again,” Weagle said. “In 2018 we didn’t win a medal and that was really disappointing, so before those Olympics my mindset was a bit different. Of course we wanted to win a medal, but for me it’s was also [about] really enjoy the experience and soak it all up.

Weagle was able to participate in the opening and closing ceremonies, moments she will never forget.

“When I was a kid, when I watched the Olympics, even before I started curling, I loved watching the opening and closing ceremonies,” she said. “I thought it would be the coolest thing to walk and represent your country. Now to have done it twice is just mind blowing to me.

The 2022 Winter Games were held differently from most years, like the Tokyo Summer Games, as they took place in the midst of a global health pandemic. But it was an opportunity to bring together athletes from around the world to unite in sport, despite the distance created by COVID-19.

“While waiting to go out with all this anticipation, I saw these giant Olympic rings in front of me, and I started crying because I was thinking about the journey it took to get there and all the people who were making it. gone,” Weagle recounts. “It was a very emotional experience for me, which I didn’t really expect.”

Lisa Weagle. Photo by Brittany Gawley.

A pandemic Olympics also meant that friends and family were not allowed in the stands to cheer on loved ones, and athletes could not leave the secure Olympic Village.

Weagle has visited three times before, so not seeing the sites was not a huge disappointment for her. She stayed in touch with friends and family via email and phone, and tried to post more on social media to stay in touch.

Weagle’s mother, local author Brenda Chapman, said she was cheering on her daughter from here at home and was reeling with pride to see her Olympic achievements unfold.

“Ted and I are extremely proud of Lisa and all that she has accomplished on and off the ice,” Chapman said. “Not only is Lisa a two-time Olympian and World Curling Champion, but she also gives back to the community by mentoring young curlers and raising money for various causes, especially the Sandra Schmirler Foundation. We have seen her grow into an amazing, compassionate woman who worked hard and sacrificed a lot to achieve her dreams.

Weagle credits her athletic career to her family: she has always been involved in athletic pursuits with her sister Julia Weagle, who is a now retired professional curler.

“I’ve always loved sports, and it was something that was always very important to my family,” Weagle said. “My sister and I have always needed to have at least one summer sport and one winter sport. We played tee ball and softball in the summers. My parents signed me up for the Little Rock program at the Granite Curling Club and I really fell in love with the sport. I loved the teamwork, learning new skills, strategy and just being on the ice and spending Saturday mornings there.

It was a hobby that was never expected to turn into an Olympic career: Weagle said his young self could never have imagined what the future held for him.

While working as a communications specialist by day, Weagle has been competing professionally in curling for 12 years. During that time, she went to the Scotties eight times, where she won three medals, one of each color. Weagle also has 10 Grand Slam titles to his name.

“There have been some really big accomplishments that, at eight years old, you don’t even know these things exist,” she said. “Even when I talk about it, I can’t believe it’s my complete resume. It’s just amazing to be a member of great teams and to be able to travel the world and play a sport that I love.

Weagle won’t rule out an Olympic berth in 2026, but for now she’s just focused on enjoying the sport. Winning an Olympic medal was once a fixation for Weagle, but at this point in her career, the curler’s main goal is to keep improving and reaching the next level.

“I think there are a lot of ways to get to the Olympics. I don’t know if necessarily being an athlete will be the answer for me next time,” she said. The next four years are in store for me. I will continue to play mixed doubles and I really enjoy it. If I quit curling today, I could look back and be really happy with my career, but there is still more in me, I think.

Naomi C. Amerson