Curling Superstar Clinches Gold For Canada

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All is right with the world: Canada took the gold in the men's curling competition at the Winter Games in Vancouver. With Kevin Martin, the Michael Jordan of curling, in the lead, they beat Norway 6-3.

TOM GOLDMAN: And this is Tom Goldman in Vancouver, where despite all the talk about gold, silver and bronze, it was red, white and gray that stood out during the men's curling final Saturday. Those are the colors of the famous argyle trousers worn by the Norwegians - pants that were figuratively beaten off Norway by a Canadian curling juggernaut.

(Soundbite of cheering)

GOLDMAN: Only in Canada can the sound and sight of a double takeout - that's when a stone slid down the ice, knocks two of the opponent's stones out of play - elicit a full-throated roar from a crowd of thousands. This one by Canada's John Morris, Johnny Moe, was one of many great plays by the clearly dominant Canadian team of four. Near the end, when the 6-3 victory was certain, the crowd, perhaps tired of cheering, spontaneously decided to sing.

(Soundbite of song, "O Canada")

Unidentified People: (Singing) O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard...

Mr. KEVIN MARTIN (Canadian Curler): The amount of gold medals that Canada's getting makes a big difference in not just curling, but every sport, to have that crowd on your side and in your home country and very proud.

GOLDMAN: There is no Olympian of whom Canadians are prouder than this man. Kevin Martin is the 43-year-old skip or team leader who finally won a gold medal to go with all his other awards, including a 2002 Olympic silver medal. Last night was K-Mart's coronation, then Hebert placed the position of lead in Canada.

Mr. BEN HEBERT (Canadian Curler): This is the best Kevin's played all year. You know, I know how much this means to him. He just wanted this one to fill his resume as probably the best curler of all time.

GOLDMAN: Yes, this gold medal ties a record for most by a country at a Winter Olympics. But more importantly, it's a gold medal in a sport that, along with hockey, is part of the fiber of Canadians who believe this medal is where it belongs - on home soil around the necks of Kevin Martin and the boys.

Tom Goldman, NPR News, Vancouver.

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