In Salt Lake as the vice skip for Kari Erickson, McCormick helped the U.S. to a fourth-place finish, falling to Canada in the bronze-medal game. In Nagano in 1988 when curling made its Olympic debut as a medal sport, McCormick (then Henry) played second for Lisa Schoeneberg's team that finished tied for fifth. McCormick was disappointed by the result and said it motivated her to get back to the Olympics.
Better than a gold medal?
Not all was lost in Japan, however. Debbie's boyfriend, Pete,
made the trip to Nagano to watch the U.S. rink play. He proposed at the
Zenkoji Temple on Valentine's Day, saying, "I know you came here for a
gold medal, but I hope you'll accept this gold ring instead." They wed
in July 2001.
Following the 1998 Nagano Games, Schoeneberg retired
McCormick took a year off from curling, not playing the 1998-99
season. She says she enjoyed the break. She returned to the ice for the
1999-2000 season, playing with, among others, a junior curler
named Nicole Jorgenstaan, who was with the team because Erickson was
taking the year off to have a child.
McCormick played third at the 2001 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland,
where the U.S. finished with a 5-4 record in a tie for fifth with
Germany. It was first worlds for McCormick as a competing member of the
team. (In 1996, as the alternate, she won a silver medal at Worlds in
She switched to skipping her own teams and led the U.S. to gold at the 2003 Worlds.
It was the first time the US had won a World Championships in women's curling and also was McCormick's first international tournament as a skip. She returned to the Worlds once again in 2006 and won silver.
Coming up short
But at the 2006 Olympic Trials, Team McCormick came up short. Literally.
"We came in second by about three inches," says Pottinger, describing the final game of Trials that went into 11 ends.
McCormick says that the disappointment was so hard to take that she couldn't watch the U.S. coverage of Torino and instead tuned into Canadian stations.
Cool as ice
In the tenth (and final) end of the women's Curling Olympic Team Trials in 2009, Team McCormick was up one point on Patti Lank's team. She had two options to get to Vancouver -- either take out both of Lank's stones, or put her rock closer to the button. With one shot, she did both.
McCormick's father, Wally Henry, was an elite level curler who competed at the 1986 World Championships in Toronto, Ontario, and at the 1991 World Championships in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Wally played third in 1986, helping Steve Brown's team win the bronze medal and played lead on Brown's team in 1991, earning a second bronze medal again, this time sharing it with Norway. Her mother, who died when Debbie was 15, also curled, as did her younger brother. She started curling competitively when she was 14, and Wally, her father, has continued to curl recreationally and remains involved with McCormick's career as a coach and manager.
The Henry family is originally from Canada, and Debbie's parents were born in Winnipeg. Because of Wally's job as Admission Director of Herzing College of Technology, they later moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Debbie and her brother both were born in Saskatoon, before Wally's job required him to move again, this time to Madison, Wisconsin, when Debbie was about 2. She started curling in Madison and says, "I've curled as long as I can remember," recalling times when she and her brother, too young to throw rocks, sat atop them and pushed each other around on the ice.
Off the ice
Debbie and Pete are very active in their community. They are both
Eucharistic ministers at their church, St. Mary's Catholic Church, in
Pardeeville, Wisconsin. They also are both members of the Pheasants Forever
Columbia Co. Chapter
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.