Brad Gushue, Kevin Martin hook up for Olympic trials
Brad Gushue to serve as 5th on solid Kevin Martin team
Brad Gushue has joined an unlikely foe in a bid to return to the Olympics.
Gushue, Newfoundland and Labrador's most decorated curler, tweeted Tuesday that he was hooking up with Kevin Martin in an attempt to represent Canada in Sochi, Russia next year.
Martin won gold in Vancouver in 2010 while Gushue won it all in Turin, Italy in 2006.
Gushue, however, will serve as the fifth, or alternate with Team Martin at the Canadian Olympic trials, the Roar of the Rings, starting Dec. 5 in Winnipeg.
That team is skipped by the reigning Olympic gold medallist skip, Martin, plus third Dave Nedohin, second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert.
With an Olympics berth on the line, Gushue has no issue helping the team in a way he's less accustomed to.
"It may be as small as pre-scouting the rocks or matching rocks before they play. I'm going to do whatever I can to help those guys win," he said.
Paul Webster, the Canadian Curling Association's Olympic team leader, called Gushue's selection by Martin as "one of the best fifth member selections" he's ever seen.
He said while the role of fifth may not be mandatory for teams at the Road to the Roar, it has become increasingly more important.
"It's always been sort of a friend or buddy opportunity in the past," Webster said. "But teams are taking it more seriously these days."
I was honoured that they asked me because they are one of the best teams in the world. They had a lot of people that they could’ve chose, and to be selected was quite nice.- Brad Gushue
Gushue's familiarity with the team, along with his experience of playing, and winning, at an Olympic trials, were just a couple of the reasons he felt it was a good fit.
It didn't hurt that the Martin rink is one of the best and most decorated ever.
"I was honoured that they asked me because they are one of the best teams in the world,” Gushue said. “They had a lot of people that they could’ve chose, and to be selected was quite nice.”
The news comes just two days after Gushue's rink lost its last chance to qualify for the Roar of the Rings.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Gushue said. “You’d prefer to be going [by] skipping your own team, but once we got knocked out, it’s hard to pass up another opportunity to go to another Olympics [and] to play with a team that had the run that they’ve had over the last seven or eight years.”
The two sides won’t have long before they see one another. Both Gushue and Team Martin will be in competition at the Canadian Open in Medicine Hat, Alta., a Grand Slam of Curling event this coming weekend.
“We’ll get to spend a bit of time there and I’ll get a better idea of what they want from me and what kind of role I’m going to play,” Gushue said.
“I’ll probably head up to Edmonton a few days before the trials and spend a couple days with them, get to know them a bit better and head on to Winnipeg from there.”