SOCHI, RUSSIA - Shortly after they stepped down from the top of an Olympic podium, still trying to come to grips with what they'd achieved, someone threw a Canadian flag at Brad Jacobs and his golden curling teammates.
Second E.J. Harnden grabbed it and said "You want to do a victory lap?"
In that moment, literally on top of the world, Jacobs looked at his teammates, two of them his cousins, and let the euphoria wash over him.
"We can do whatever we want right now," he said. "Let's go."
And so they trotted around the Ice Cube Curling Center with that flag, waving to all the fans decked out in red and white, soaking up a moment that has been a lifetime in the making.
They were Olympic champions, gold medallists in the biggest tournament on the planet, heroes of a nation and a sport, men who won their last eight games to find themselves in that exact heavenly situation.
"The biggest word that comes to mind right now is relief," Jacobs said after his team absolutely throttled the David Murdoch team from Great Britain 9-3 in eight ends in the gold medal game.
"I'm relieved that this is all over with and we're Olympic gold medallists. Wearing that Maple Leaf, there's a lot of expectations. When we won the semifinal, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders -- we all did -- and now to go out and win the final and be gold medallists, that weight is completely gone and I feel total relief right now."
Jacobs and his Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., team of third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden made it three consecutive gold medals for Canada in men's curling at the Olympics after Brad Gushue won in 2006 and Kevin Martin in 2010.
They helped propel Canada to its first double gold in an Olympics after Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg won the women's tournament Thursday. They ensured that Canada has now won a medal of some colour in every men's and women's Olympic tournament since they began in 1998.
"To get double gold for Canada for the first time ever, we are very proud of that," Jacobs said. "It's incredible, it was awesome."
The Jacobs team was flawless in the final, while the Great Britain team looked like deer in the headlights. Jacobs poured it on with a deuce in the first, three in the third and a steal of one in the fourth to make it 6-1, and the rest was essentially a coronation.
There was no drama at the end. The opposition simply shook hands and collected their silver medals after eight ends.
Considering how poorly the Jacobs team started out in this tournament, falling to 1-2 before rallying for eight straight wins, their performance in the playoffs was very impressive.
"Who knows if we'll ever have this opportunity again," Jacobs said. "So we wanted to go out, we wanted to attack and play a textbook curling game and that's what we did."
The win was especially gratifying for E.J. and Ryan Harnden, who are brothers, best friends and now get to share an Olympic gold medal.
The brothers, cousins to Jacobs, watched sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe win gold and silver medals in moguls earlier in the tournament and couldn't help but dream about what it would be like to duplicate that feat.
"Absolutely amazing," E.J. Harnden said. "I watched the Dufour-Lapointe sisters and I held back tears. They were standing there side by side and I thought that would mean the absolute world to me, to be able to do that with my brother.
"I'll never ever, ever, ever, no matter what happens from here on out, forget the moment of standing on the podium with my brother."
There's no doubt Ryan Harnden feels the same way.
"I don't think many people can say they've won an Olympic gold medal with family," he said. "To be able to do it with my brother, my best friend, I love him to death and it's just a dream come true."
It has been an incredible run this last year for the Jacobs foursome. A year ago at this time they were just another competitive men's team, still trying to find their way.
Last March they won the Brier. In December they went undefeated through the Olympic curling trials.
And now, this.
"We're very blessed," Fry said. "We formed this team and it really proves that if you give something your everything and you don't quit when things go bad, good things happen to you."
THAT'S KARMA FOR YA
Moments after he capped a brilliant run with an exclamation point to become an Olympic gold medallist, Canada’s Brad Jacobs wasn’t about to hide the fact that comments by his opponent’s coach gave him extra motivation.
Jacobs and his teammates from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., destroyed Great Britain 9-3 in eight ends in the gold-medal game at the Olympic men’s curling tournament a day after Great Britain coach Soren Gran ripped his team’s aggressive style and said it was bad for the game.
The Jacobs team put on a clinic against David Murdoch’s squad and the game was never close as the Canadians claimed gold with their eighth straight win.
“We believe in karma and what you saw out there today, after a comment like that, it’s a pretty strange thing,” Jacobs said.
“I was aware of the comments and I don’t think it’s necessarily the right thing to say before a big final like that. I think it only gave us more motivation to go out there and win.”
On Thursday, Gran said he doesn’t like the emotional and demonstrative way the Canadians carry themselves.
“The aggressive style we have seen from the Canadians here, that's something I don't like about the sport” he said. “I don't think it helps anyone. It doesn't help the player and it doesn’t help his teammates.”
Brad Jacobs and his teammates drew inspiration for the biggest game of their lives by watching Canada’s golden girls record the wins of a lifetime.
The Jacobs team watched Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones win the gold medal in curling Thursday and later went to the epic women’s hockey gold-medal game, won in dramatic fashion by Canada.
“That was inspiring to be at and to watch,” Jacobs said. “That was absolutely incredible and that pumped us all up for today’s game. I’m not going to lie, that was something special.”
It wasn’t exactly the same with Thursday’s women’s curling final. Jacobs and his teammates watched the game until they were sure Jones was going to win and then turned it off.
“We turned it off because we didn’t want to see the presentation or anything like that before we had the opportunity to do the same thing,” Jacobs said.
CHECK OUT CANADA'S MEDAL WINNERS