Martin rocks to curling gold

By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency


Kevin Martin skipped the Canadian men's curling team to a gold medal with a win over Norway Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. (DANIEL MALLARD/QMI AGENCY)

VANCOUVER – The crowd started singing O Canada with John Morris in the hack in the 10th end.

Then with the crowd standing and cheering as Martin's rock sailed down the ice to run Thomas Ulsrud out of rocks, Morris dropped his broom and threw hiumself into the arms of Ben Hebert while Marc Kennedy was hugging Martin.

Martin crowned his curling career with Olympic gold here Saturday.

No more 'Can't Win The Big One.'

Led by third John Morris manufacturing a triple and three double take outs, Martin won the biggest one of them all to give Canada a 13th gold medal and quite likely the XXI Olympics title for most top of the podium performances.

Martin ran Thomas Ulsrud and his team from Norway out of rocks in the 10th end to score a 6-3 win to become Olympic champion.

Having won every game on his way to the gold medal game in Salt Lake 2002, Martin did the same to

get to this game. But this time there was no way he was going to end up looking at a last rock draw to the four foot to miss by two inches. In fact, he gave Ulsrud a steady diet of those sorts of shots early.

Martin put the team, which also includes Marc Kennedy at second and Ben Hebert at lead, together three and a half years ago, telling them and everyone who would listen over and over that his only goal in getting to the Olympics was to get his team in as many finals as possible so they could seize the moment if he got the chance again.

Haunted by an out-turn draw which slid two inches heavy to cost him the gold against Pal Trulsen of Norway eight years ago, an Albertville Olympics when he finished fourth as a demonstration sport and four world championships with only one win, Martin erased all that with the win.

The Edmonton skip, who went into the game having won nine of 10 games over the years against the Norwegian, blanked the first end. Morris bailed Canada out in the second with a triple take out and Martin was forced to draw for one. Another blank followed.

One wonders if Martin was aware that 6.7 million viewers had watched Cheryl Bernard give the gold away twice – first on the 10th end and then on the extra end – the day before. The way this one started, a likely even larger audience on a weekend had to be nodding off early.

But on the fourth Morris made a double take out, this one to put Canada in the catbird seat and Martin managed those house perfect to provide a steal of one and a 2-0 lead. Some idiot, however, blew a horn on Ulsrud's backswing on his first shot. It didn't appear to phase him.

Another double takeout by Morris on the fifth set up another desperation draw for one by Ulsrud looking at four. Martin stole another one.

Giving up a pair in six, Martin glued one to a Norway rock and watched Ulsrud take out his own and leave the Old Bear a draw to the eight foot and a 5-2 lead in the seventh.

With yet another double take out in the seventh by Morris, Ulsrud was in the glue again and forced to take one, setting up Martin to put it away early.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

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