If you had asked me a week or so ago to assess the chances of Brad Gushue winning the Olympic curling trials I would have been more inclined to side with Jeff Stoughton than take offence to his remark that Gushue had "no chance of winning."
With the exception of Russ Howard, it's a young team. They've been prone to making some rash and poor shot calling in the past during big games. And they really hadn't gotten over the hump against some of the curlers they were going to face at the trials. The raw talent was there. They were going to win a Brier sooner or later. But clearly they weren't ready to represent Canada at the Olympics.
But hey, this is why I don't play ProLine or bet on professional sports...I suck at picking winners. But really, if Howard isn't there, they don't win it. I think Gushue would agree with that. He was a calming influence and steered them out of making some rash, ill-advised shots in the final and I assume he was doing that all week.
And it was a great game. They only missed a few shots and they got two great breaks - Stoughton's draw over-curling in the fourth to let them steal two and Stoughton's Third misreading the line on the takeout in the last end. Sometimes those few centimetres are all you need. I actually do feel bad for the Third. He's going to be haunted by the line call for years.
So congrats to the whole team. Although they had better redefine their definition of pressure. If they faced it before at the World Juniors or at the Brier, it's nothing compared to going to the Olympics. Especially since the men have never won gold. And curlers are always expected to win when playing at the international level. I hope they win gold. If they do, Gushue is going to be considered a god in the province for the rest of his life. If they don't or, worse yet, don't make the medal round, people across Canada are going to bitch about it for years.
Although I think by going to Turin it means he can't compete in the Brier since the provincial playdowns are at the same time he's over there. Small price to pay, though.
Also, Cathy wondered this one, is Howard going to be the oldest Olympic athlete over there? He turns 50 during the games. For that matter, is he the oldest Olympic athlete of all time? Probably not, but I am curious....
Last 5 on iPod
1. Save me - Queen (Platinum Collection
2. To be the one - Ryan Adams (Heartbreaker)
3. That I would be good - Alanis Morissette (Unplugged)
4. Luno - Bloc Party (Silent Alarm)
5. Every day I write the book - Elvis Costello (The Very Best of...)