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When an athlete gets inducted to a hall of fame, they’re supposed to put their feet up and reflect on the best moments of their career.

Cathy Overton Clapham is still hoping to create one more of those moments. The ultimate one, actually.

The Winnipegger, we learned Thursday, will join the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame, a decision made last winter when it appeared her competitive career was over. “Very surprised, excited, honoured, to be recognized with the best players in Canada.”

A month later, Cathy O got another call she hadn’t expected.

Transplanted Winnipegger Chelsea Carey, skipping one of the better teams in the country, out of Calgary, was in dire need of a third for the following season.

Overton Clapham checked with her family and signed up for one more year.

But this isn’t just any curling season. It’s an Olympic year.

So on Thursday, when her Hall of Fame news finally came out, Cathy O was looking ahead as much as back at the Olympic Trials, which get underway Dec. 2, in Ottawa. “This will be my fourth. A couple I played in, obviously (we were) the favourite going in and didn’t have a great week. Our team this year, we’ve had a great start to the year. We’re playing well, seem to be getting better at each event. Kind of flying under the radar. Hopefully that happens. Hopefully I have one of the better weeks I’ve played in my career.”

She’s had a few, going back three decades.

Overton Clapham’s first appearance on the national stage came in 1986, when she won her first provincial junior championship. Three years later, she skipped Manitoba to the Canadian junior title, then won a world junior bronze in 1990.

She was just getting warmed up.

In the women’s game, Cathy O was part of five Canadian championships, only one shy of fellow Hall of Famer Colleen Jones.

One of the all time great thirds in the game, she won with Connie Laliberte in ’95, then with Jennifer Jones in ’05, ’08, ’09 and ’10.

Toss in a world championship gold in ’08, a bronze two years later and the silver she won with Laliberte in ’95, and Overton Clapham’s trophy case is already bursting. “There’s a handful. Obviously, winning my very first provincial championship with my sister and Janet Harvey was a special moment. Standing on the podium in ’08 and hearing O Canada was an extremely emotional and special moment as well.”

Ask her how she’s playing now compared to some of those years, and Cathy O sounds like someone still in her prime. “I feel really good on the ice, like I’m throwing the rock well and making some shots. Playing with a new team, it seems to be clicking for us.”

That’s exactly what you want going into the Trials.

The one thing Overton Clapham won’t have this time is the weight of being the team to beat.

Her old skip can carry that. “Flying under the radar is great. They can take all the attention there.”

Only one team will take the prize, though.

A prize that would complete any Hall of Fame career. “But obviously winning the Olympic Trials would certainly be a dream come true.”
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