Canadian men defeat Norway to win curling gold

  • Sat Feb 27th, 2010 6:20pm
  • Sports

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Canada won the gold medal in its No. 2 sport of curling, with Kevin Martin’s men defeating a Norwegian foursome that charmed the Olympics with its celebrated flamboyant pants.

The 6-3 victory Saturday gave Canada its 13th gold medal, matching the mark for the most by any nation at a Winter Olympics — and it gave Martin the title he has coveted for so long.

“Today and all week he was amazing,” Canadian second Marc Kennedy said. “We had an all-around good team game today, and you couldn’t have it at a better time.”

Martin’s last rock didn’t have to score, and it bumped one other opposing stone. The captain then threw his arms into the air, at last securing this championship in a storied career. Teammate John Morris grabbed a flag from a fan and brought it onto the ice.

This was the second straight Olympic gold for the Canadian men curlers, although Martin was not the skip in Turin.

This team went 11-0, capping the run with a commanding victory before a raucous sellout crowd that clanged cowbells, honked like Canadian geese and madly waved the Maple Leaf. Fans broke into the national anthem in the 10th end that had Martin fighting his emotions in the moment.

Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud told his team all tournament long to just have a ball in these games, and it brought out the best in this bunch. Christoffer Svae picked out the loud, diamond-print golf pants that instantly turned these curlers into cult heroes across the globe.

On this day, the pants didn’t dance.

“I thought we couldn’t lose in these pants. But, hey, man,” Ulsrud said. “Those guys, they played brilliant today. We played not our best game, and that’s just how good those guys are.”

The 43-year-old “Old Bear” Martin delivered eight years after a heartbreaking miss on his final offering of the Salt Lake City Olympics that was heavy by an inch — in a loss to the Norwegians no less.

Martin’s team became the first since curling returned as a medal sport in 1998 to go unbeaten on the way to gold. The only other time it happened was in 1924, when Britain stayed perfect in a four-team event that was later ruled part of the official Olympic program.