'Bad trip' over

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Cathy (Day Train) Gauthier, lead for Canadian women's curling champion Jennifer Jones, finally arrived home last night -- by rail.

Gauthier had been forced to deplane at a stopover in Toronto while returning from St. John's, Nfld., on Monday.

"I blew an ear drum," Gauthier said after being piped down an escalator to a small throng at the Via Rail station last night. "I had a really bad cold all week and when we landed in Halifax, I knew I was in trouble. But I just knew I wanted to get home. Then I tried to go to Toronto and when we landed, I almost passed out.

"So I saw the nurse and she took me to a doctor who refused to let me fly for five days. I asked him about Scotland (where the women's world championship will be played) and he's very optimistic that I will be able to go. But he said under no circumstances could I get on a plane. So I was on the longest train in the world."

Gauthier, who spent a night in a Toronto infirmary, blew out her ear drum before about 10-15 years ago.

"Same ear (left)," she said. "So I think it's prone to that. So it's over with hopefully. They say it happens often. I never want it to happen again. It's a long boat ride home from Scotland."

The team leaves for Scotland on March 14.

Because Gauthier missed the victory scene at the Winnipeg airport and the party at the St. Vital Curling Club on Monday, her team set up a special welcome for her last night.

"It was very emotional," Gauthier said, her eyes welled with tears. "It was really hard to have won and then not be able to come home with the girls because such a big part of it is being able to celebrate with everybody that's been so good to us, and this is a huge surprise. It's very emotional and wonderful.

"I'm glad I'm here. It's been a long two weeks."

And she had an extra 48 hours to soak up the victory and the shot-heard-across-the-country.

"(I thought) just how good it is and how much I love playing with this team," Gauthier said. "We never thought for a moment to ever give up. We all believed that Jen was making that last shot (in-off for the winning four) but seeing it was a wonderful moment. It wasn't a surprise because we just knew she was going to do it."

Gauthier won the 1995 Canadian crown with current third Cathy Overton-Clapham, when both played for Connie Laliberte. They lost the world final to Sweden's Elizabet Gustafson in Brandon.

"Unfinished business for Cathy and I," Gauthier said. "It took a long time to let it go and the best way to let it go is to finish what I think we should have done then. I've got a bronze (1992) and a silver and I sure want the gold in the collection."


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