Martin eying Sochi gold

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:07 PM ET

How do you top Olympic gold?

Why, by collecting another such prize in 2014 Sochi, of course.

But how on Earth does a foursome which has won virtually every curling honour possible — including last winter’s golden glory in Vancouver — stay focused for another four years until the next Olympic Games?

“The four of us have a passion to play,” said Calgary’s John Morris, the rock-star third of Kevin Martin’s super rink. “It’s our livelihood, so we have that passion. When we lost that, then that’ll be the day to look at shutting er down.”

For now, it’s upward and onward towards a repeat in Russia.

Thanks to an all-consuming enthusiasm for the sport, Martin, Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert have committed to each other for another four curling seasons — with no foreseeable threat of being sidetracked from another golden goal.

“We’re locked in for Sochi,” said Martin, 44. “I was probably the toughest one to talk into another four-year plan because I’m a little older. It was tough to keep motivated with (my previous rink of Don) Bartlett and (Don) Walchuk because we were all the same age.

“But with the young guys, it’s easy,” continued Martin, whose nickname is ‘Old Bear.’ “They are excited again. They’re so full of energy that they keep me motivated. And with how the young guys are so excited, I don’t think complacency is a possibility.”

And, of course, he has passionate teammates on his side to help him in his pursuit.

“We complement each other well,” Morris said. “We bring young energy to Kevin, and he brings wily experience. I wouldn’t say he’s the father figure, but he wants to watch news when we want to watch sports.”

But they still all want to win — together.

“We still love a good heated game,” Martin added. “We love going toe-to-toe with Glenn Howard and Kevin Koe and Pat Simmons. It’s fun. I like it. And the young guys really like it.”

EXTRA ENDS

The Martin rink scored its second WCT win of the season Sunday by scoring a 5-4 final over Ontario’s Wayne Middaugh in the $70,000 Cactus Pheasant Classic in Brooks. Martin used the hammer in the eighth and final end to get a sixth-straight victory in the 24-team event for $22,000 … Of Calgary foursomes in Brooks, two made the playoff round — Brent Bawel finished 3-2, including a 7-2 quarterfinal loss to defending Brier champ Kevin Koe, and Steve Petryk went 4-2, including an 8-2 quarterfinal loss to Ontario’s Glenn Howard. Both Bawel and Petryk pocketed $5,000. Fellow Calgarians Terry Meek, Brock Virtue and Dean Ross wrapped up the Brooks event with respective 2-3, 2-3 and 1-3 records … Calgary’s Diane Foster lost an 8-2 semifinal Monday to Saskatoon’s Stephanie Lawton at the $35,000 Colonial Square Ladies Classic in Saskatoon. Foster finished 4-3, while fellow Calgarian Shana Snell went 0-3 at the 21-team WCT event.

LAST ROCK

The Red Deer Curling Classic begins Friday for both men and women on the WCT. Among the 64 teams gunning for respective titles are Calgary rinks Bawel, Petryk, Ross, Virtue, Snell, Aaron Sluchinski, Cheryl Bernard, Nicole Blenkin, Nadine Chyz, Tanilla Doyle, Lisa Eyamie, Shannon Kleibrink, Amanda White and Crystal Webster.

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca


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