Gushue insists absence not a snub

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

Brad Gushue isn't snubbing Edmonton's Roar of the Rings.

"I think that needs to be known," said the Olympic gold medal winner who was noticeable by his absence at the opening banquet Friday night and will be even more noticeable for not being part of today's 11 a.m. opening ceremonies.

Only Russ Howard, picked up to join the Gushue gang for the Olympic trials event four years ago in Halifax, is here to represent the team in the celebrations at the banquet and the opening ceremonies.

WON GOLD

"It would have been much better to have the old team back together," said Howard of the group that won gold for Canada at the 2006 Torino Olympics.

"I was disappointed they decided not to come," added Howard who will also work as a colour commentator on TSN's morning draw telecasts.

CCA event boss Warren Hansen said the reason Gushue and crew isn't here is simple.

"They didn't want to come," he said of Gushue, Brad Nichols, Jamie Korab and Mike Adam.

"I don't know that I'd be here if I was them either," he added of the team that failed to qualify through the Road to the Roar event in Prince George last month.

But Gushue says there's more to the story.

"It is quite simple," he said.

"They offered us $500 toward travel costs and the airfare would have been over $1,000, probably closer to $1,200.

They were willing to pay for the hotel but not any other expenses.

"Considering we wanted to be participating in it, it was tough to swallow. We're not there because they didn't want to cover all the costs.

"I thought about going myself but then I decided I'm not going to go there and make all the other guys look bad."

Hansen said the same deal is involved for all curlers invited to such ceremonial events for several years.

"That's good for Don Bartlett and Don Walchuk who live in Edmonton, but it doesn't work for us," said Gushue.

The list of Canada's past curling Olympians -- the two teams that won gold, the two that captured silver and the two that brought back bronze, -- will all be involved.

The late Sandra Schmirler's Nagano 1998 gold medal winning teammates Jan Betker, Joan McCusker and Marcia Gudereit are here.

Mike Harris and Nagano silver medal winners Mike Harris, Richard Hart (competing with Glenn Howard's team), Collin Mitchell and George Karrys, are also here.

Kelley Law, Georgina Wheatcroft and Diane Dezure of the bronze medal team from Salt Lake 2002 were at the banquet, but Julie Skinner wasn't able to make it because of illness.

Kevin Martin (competing), Don Walchuk, Carter Rycroft (competing) and Don Bartlett on the Salt Lake silver-medal team and Shannon Kleibrink (competing), Amy Nixon, (competing) and Glenys Bakker from the Torino 2006 team are also here, with lead Christine Keshen missing for reasons unknown.

INVOLVED

Details of who will be throwing the first rock to open the event leading into the Vancouver 2010 Olympics have not been released, but all of the former Olympians on the property will be involved.

Seven-year-old Halle Nedohin, daughter of Dave and heather Nedohin will sing the Hational anthem.

Her dad is a competitor with Randy Ferbey's team and her mom is the alternate picked up by the Kleibrink team.

The opening ceremonies and the women's first draw are both included in the admission for the first draw.

The initial men's draw is set for 6 p.m.

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


Photos