Top of the Worlds

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Kevin Martin, his broom in his right hand, thrust in the air as his first rock in the last end was halfway down the ice.

A second later John Morris, standing in the rings, raised both his arms in the air as the rock neared the hog line.

Another second later and sweepers Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert, pulled their brushes from in front of the rock and did the same.

There was no last rock miss like there was in the gold medal game at the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games or any of the other playoff pratfalls which had soiled and spoiled Martin's spectacular career. There was no last rock.

It was a long time coming, but today Kevin Martin, 41, is finally world curling champion.

TEARED UP

His eyes were visibly wet in the quick hit TV interviews after it was over, although Martin doesn't believe it.

"Whatever," he said. "I'll have to look at the tape."

No matter how close he was to having a tear or two, the fact was that this time, for the first time, Martin wasn't standing there having to tell Canada he was sorry.

"We've won the world. I don't think we can play Mars," enthused lead Ben Hebert.

"Kevin has had so many great teams, I'm so thrilled to be on the one which finally won it for him. Now people can stop bugging him about it," added Hebert.

"The old skipper doesn't show it but he really wanted to win this one and we really wanted to win it for him," said Kennedy.

"There's no better feeling. We're on top of the world."

Morris, who won two world juniors as a skip, said those felt great at the time, but were no match for this, because of what it meant for Martin himself.

"It's probably more of a relief for Kevin because he hasn't been able to do it before," he said.

Now Martin can finally get his complete due. He's finally filled his resume and his legacy. Nobody need reference his horrid history of not being able to close for Canada again. And nobody need cringe, if Canada should send Martin to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in search of the only other missing medal in his collection.

"We just hadn't finished one off. It was good to put all that to rest.

"For myself I don't think I'd have trouble sleeping until I was 68. But just to put it all to rest is a good thing," said Martin of this day which also made him the first men's team to qualify through to the Edmonton 2009 Olympic Trials.

When he'd finally won it, Martin said how easily they could have lost it.

"That loss two days ago was tough," he said of blowing a 6-2 lead to Scotland and gassing the game with his last rock shot which was way wide.

"That was a tough, tough loss to take. But this team bounced back to play our best game in six months the next night and shoot 93% and played well again today. That loss was so tough to swallow. But we didn't let it swallow us up.

"That's pretty good experience for these guys to have now."

While Martin was happy for the new team he put together for the run at Vancouver 2010, he said finally getting it done with Jules Owchar as his coach from start to end made it the most special.

HUGE RELIEF

And if you're looking to get inside the emotion of the skip who tried his best to not be emotional when the job was finally done, Owchar was your man.

"Deep down, it's a relief for sure. Finally!" he said of the kid who had so much hair when he started coaching him back in 1984 that he called him "carrot.

"I knew in junior he was going to be good but I didn't know how special he was going to get. I think he's the best."

But Owchar said Martin needed this one to be judged that way.

"It was always 'Can't win the big one' he said of the messes he's made representing Canada before.

"Now he's got rid of that."

Owchar said the best thing is going to be the flight to St. John's to the Tylenol Player's Championship today.

"Can you imagine what it would be like going there if we'd ended up with another silver?"


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