Hero's welcome for Stoughton
By JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
|World men's curling champion Jeff Stoughton speaks to the media at Winnipeg International Airport on April 11, 2011. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)
More than 100 supporters welcomed Winnipeg’s world champions home as the conquering heroes were piped down the escalator at the Winnipeg airport Monday afternoon.
As Canada’s rep, Jeff Stoughton and his crew captured the men’s world crown by beating Scotland’s Tom Brewster in Regina on Sunday night.
“It’s very cool to come home,” Stoughton said. “Regina adopted us, we got unbelievable support there. But we know Winnipeg was cheering as hard as they were in their living rooms, or the ones who did come out. But there’s nothing better. I mean, you get piped down, you’re a world champion. No one’s taking that away from you. I don’t think the smile’s going to be wiped off my face for a month. It’s just an unbelievably good feeling.”
Stoughton had a similar reception when he returned home from London, Ont., after winning his first Brier belt since 1999 in March.
“I enjoy them, I’ve gotta tell ya,” said Jon Mead, who returned to play third for his old skipper this season. “Not everybody gets to go through this type of thing. It’s exciting and it’s very special.”
When Reid Carruthers first awoke Monday morning, he was still trying to shake the cobwebs out of his head, thinking, “Was that a dream or was that real?” said Stoughton’s rookie second.
“I don’t think there’s a word to describe it. Unbelievable. Unreal. Surreal. You just can’t believe that it actually happened. When that final rock stopped (Sunday), I looked at (lead) Steve (Gould) and instant tears because all of that hard work, all that time spent going to practice, it all worked well just for that moment right there, and no one can ever take that away from us.”
Both Stoughton and Gould won the world championship back in 1996.
“It’s hard to compare because, No. 1, I can’t remember that far back,” said Stoughton, 47. “No. 2, you get older and you appreciate things a lot more and think it’s never going to happen again …
So, this one was so much more special just because it means so much because it’s near the end of my career.”