Martin roars into Olympic trials

Alberta's Kevin Martin releases a shot at the GP Car and Home World Cup of Curling held in Sault...

Alberta's Kevin Martin releases a shot at the GP Car and Home World Cup of Curling held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Thursday Nov , 3, 2011. (RACHELE LABRECQUE/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 AM ET

EDMONTON - So, Hawaii for Christmas? A Caribbean cruise in January? Maybe a Myrtle Beach golf holiday in February? South Pacific next December? Palm Springs in January 2013?

What does Kevin Martin do now?

The Old Bear didn't waste any time.

Two hours after qualifying for the Dec. 1-8 2013 Tim Horton's Roar of the Rings Olympic trials in Winnipeg two years early, Martin caught a flight to Las Vegas.

"I'm surprising my wife," he said on his cell phone as he headed to the airport in Cranbrook after a 7-4 win over Glenn Howard in the final of the Capital One Canada Cup.

"Shauna's running a half marathon. Her first one. She's been training like crazy," he said of the world's largest night run Ñ the Rock Ôn' Roll Marathon up and down The Strip in Las Vegas with live bands playing in front of the casinos along the way.

It'll be a lot different two years ahead for Martin than the road to the Roar of the Rings in Edmonton to qualify for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Martin said before he arrived in Cranbrook that he's not sure that providing an Olympic trials berth two years out is in the best interests of Canadian curling.

"It would leave you with two long seasons of trying to get up for a lot of other events and to maintain your momentum heading into the trials two years from now. Winning it now may be a lot tougher to sustain the competitive edge," is how he put it.

And he didn't change his mind with the win, although he did concede he probably has the best team to handle it.

"You have to keep motivated," he said.

"Our sport has changed a lot. The biggest event, by far, now is the Olympics," said the Edmonton skip who represented Canada at the Albertville 1992 Olympics as a demonstration sport, won silver in Salt Lake in 2002 and gold in Vancouver 2010.

"In Canada, the toughest part of it is the trials. I'm not positive it's in the best interests for Canadian curling, to be in it too soon."

Two years of tribulations for the team of John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert to get to the trials, was taken care of in five days.

But Martin is motivated by the Grad Slam events, money and says the best part in finding the motivation for the next two years might be that the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier will be held in Edmonton and he'd love to duplicate the experience Randy Ferbey had of playing in and winning that before a record attendance of 281,985 in 2005.

"That could help a lot to get the juices flowing six months out," he said. "The Brier in Edmonton on the schedule there really bodes well."

The Canada Cup took on a new special status this year as Canada's Olympic qualifying for Sochi 2014 became much more compact than for the Edmonton event.

Instead of spending three years gathering points to make it in to The Roar, all that was involved last year was qualifying seven teams for this Canada Cup.

Martin breezed through the round robin with a 6-0 record Ñ equaling an old Ferbey record Ñ and ended up with the bye while Howard beat Brier champ Jeff Stoughton in the semifinal.

In the final, Martin made a pistol of a shot in the third. And the sweepers got Marc Kennedy's draw by a guard to set up a two-point end in five. A fantastic freeze in the eighth and a Howard miss on last rock on the 10th with a chance to take it to an extra end, and that was it, a record fourth Canada Cup win.

Earlier in the day, 27-year-old Chelsea Carey lost 9-4 to 37-year-old Jennifer Jones in the women's final. With both being from Winnipeg, local organizers had their local poster girl built in. Adding the defending Olympic gold-medal winner didn't hurt either.

The next team to qualify for the Winnipeg trials will be produced by the top point getter in the men and women's end-of-season standings.

Next year's Canada Cup in Moose Jaw will add the third team. The 2012-2013 season leader will make it four.

Two more from a two year points collecting competition and another two from a last-ditch pre-trials tournament in November 2013 will fill the field.

It does change things, Martin admits.

"Now we can go to the events we want to go to instead of the ones we feel we have to go to."

Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.cA


Videos

Photos