Canada introduces ten more Olympians to the world, after Brad Gushue’s team won the men’s curling trials and Shannon Kleibrink captured the women’s title.
Kleibrink came from behind in the final game 7-5 to score three points on an open shot in the final end to win 8-7 over Kelly Scott’s team.
The next day, the youngster Gushue took an early 6-2 lead, and despite runner-up Jeff Stoughton clawing back to trailing 7-6 going into the ninth end, Gushue held off the Stoughton rally to, like Kleibrink, also win 8-7.
I watched the men’s final on CBC. Gushue’s team came out of the gates strong and didn’t miss a single shot. Beginning the game with last rock advantage, they put it to good use to score two in that first end.
Stoughton’s team deserves a boatload of credit as well. Even when down by four points, his team kept grinding away two points per end and held Gushue to a point here and there as he whittled away the deficit to a single point.
But a couple miscues from both teams in the final end seemed to neutralize each other, and Gushue was able to hold Stoughton to one point when Stoughton needed two to tie.
Though Gushue throws skip rocks, second Russ Howard — who was on two world championship teams in ’87 and ’93 — called the shots for Gushue’s rink. That seemed to be a huge advantage for the team, as Gushue, Martin and vice Mark Nichols all had access to a fountain of strategy.
And while I could go on and on about the performance of Gushue’s young yet composed team, I would like to continue a nascent motif the Futon Report can’t ignore: curling skips who look like American actors.
Olympic-bound curler Brad Gushue
Jay of “Jay and Silent Bob” Jason Mewes
I guess I’ll say it, despite fear of sounding corny and dated … Brad Gushue know his way around the hizzouse!
Skip – Shannon Kleibrink, Calgary, Alberta
Vice – Amy Nixon
Second – Glenys Bakker
Lead – Christine Keshen
Alternate – Sandra Jenkins
Coach – Daryl Nixon
Skip – Brad Gushue
Vice – Mike Nichols
Second – Russ Howard
Lead – Jamie Korab
Alternate – Mike Adam (relinquished up his role as second to make room for Howard, a very classy and selfless move)
Coach – Toby McDonald