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Gazette Premium Content As curling alternate, Pottinger scouts competition

Associated Press Updated: February 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm

ST. PAUL, Minn. — As an alternate on the U.S. women's curling team, Allison Pottinger of Eden Prairie knows she might never throw a rock in Russia.

And she's OK with that.

Pottinger could be activated if there's a disaster, The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported from Sochi, Russia, ( ). But unlike other reserve players, Pottinger expects to stay on the sidelines as a cheerleader.

"I'm going in not expecting to play; you don't want to disrupt that chemistry," she said. "It's possible I could get tapped on the shoulder to jump in. But I'm always paying attention to how the team is feeling and playing and try to support them, what shots I would play, from a rock standpoint.

"I'll do a lot of scouting and see what other teams are doing and what we should do. There are a million things that go on during these weeks; having an extra body certainly helps."

U.S. women curlers are still seeking their first medal in the program's fourth Olympics.

Erika Brown of Madison, Wis., is the team's skip. She led the Americans at the 1988 and 1998 Olympics, when curling was a demonstration sport. The other team members are Jessica Schultz of Richfield, Minn.; Debbie McCormick of Rio, Wis.; and Ann Swisshelm of Chicago.

They open round-robin competition Monday against Switzerland.

The United States will also face Russia, Great Britain, China, Japan, Denmark, Canada, South Korea and Sweden, the defending gold medalists. After each country plays one another, the top-four teams advance to the medal round.

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