Next up for Titletown?

Randy Ferbey shakes hands with Kevin Martin yesterday morning before checking in for their flights...

Randy Ferbey shakes hands with Kevin Martin yesterday morning before checking in for their flights to Halifax. Both curlers arrived in Nova Scotia later in the day to participate in the Olympic trials. (Edmonton Sun/Walter Tychnowicz)

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

HALIFAX -- Now that the Grey Cup has been properly paraded and celebrated, what's next for Titletown?

No waiting. The next crown could come next weekend from here on the other coast of Canada.

Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin flew here yesterday, on the same combination of WestJet flights, intent on creating another celebration for the City of Champions.

"Let's continue the tradition. I don't think it would surprise anybody if one of the two of us is standing on top of the podium," said Ferbey of the two Edmonton rinks at the Roar of the Rings 2006 Olympic Trials.

"I guess one of us will have to win it in double extra-ends or something to top that Grey Cup, though," laughed Ferbey of the Eskimos' double overtime Grey Cup win.

The top two teams in the world will meet each other in the first day of the toughest tournament in curling here Saturday.

"Right now we're ranked No. 1 and No. 2 and that's the way we've been ranked for quite a while," said Martin.

"So what in the world are we doing playing each other the first game? It's insane. The game should be saved for later in the week. To have these two teams playing each other in the very first game doesn't make any sense."

THE ONE THEY HAVEN'T WON

Ferbey, Dave Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer and Marcel Rocque - four-time Brier champs and three-time world champions - are here to win the one thing they haven't won and to go to the one place they haven't gone.

Considering the extent to which they've dominated the sport in the Olympic quadrennial, the Ferbey Four feels it would be only right if they're the first Canadian men's team to win an Olympic gold medal.

For Martin, a two-time Brier champion and the skip of the first rink to ever top a million dollars in earnings, it's the end of a four-year wait to try to get back to do what he didn't get done as Canada's team at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.

"I'd love to get that inch back," said Martin of coming up one inch, maybe even one centimetre, short on his last rock shot on the final end, which made Pal Trulsen of Norway the Olympic gold medal winner.

"Getting back to get that inch back isn't it by itself. It's to get back and enjoy the Olympic experience again. It was the ultimate experience of our lives," said Martin, who was also in Albertville where he failed to win a medal, back when curling was a demonstration sport.

The knock on Martin is that he's never won for Canada, failing to bring back gold from either of his trips to the World Curling Championships as well.

Martin was going great when he and rinkmates Don Walchuk, Carter Rycroft and Don Bartlett hit the skids in their final tournament two weeks ago. Still, he's here with a 26-10 record for the season on the World Curling Tour, sitting third with $37,000.

"We've been on the ice every day for the past week. I was happy with where we were before that last event," he said.

"We set up the season so it was identical to qualifying for Salt Lake in 2002. Hopefully it will work out the same way."

Ferbey comes here with a 40-8 record so far this season, topping the money list at $54,741 - not counting the $52,050 won in a skins game against Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones.

"I think we've done everything we could do to get ready for this," said Ferbey. "It's been three years coming. We were the first of the 10 rinks to qualify," he said.

"We're looking at this as being bigger than anything we've ever played in before."

'TURN THE PAGE'

Ferbey said he knows the focus is going to be massive on the first game.

"No matter if it's the first, third, seventh or 10th game, we have to play them. The thing about playing each other first is, whoever loses it better be able to turn the page and get on with trying to win the next one."

I mean, if both teams are to end up in the final to have a Grey Cup-like double extra-end game against each other in the final ...


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