POV podcast transcript: Brad Gushue
Feb 20, 2022
Transcript: Brad Gushue on Player's Own Voice podcast
Feb 19 2022
Anastasia: This is going to sound weird, but anyone can be a winner. It's easy when everything clicks. What Curling great Brad Gushue managed in Beijing though, is far more difficult. Finding your way to the podium when your game is 'off', and no one can figure out why? -That's the stuff of legend.
It's Player's Own Voice.
I'm Anastasia Bucsis
So what do you want to talk about my friend? You just won a bronze medal!
Brad Gushue: Yeah, I'd probably like to talk about how tired I am. It's been a grind of a couple of days, with about four hours sleep, and it's starting to catch up to me right now. It's, you know, not only just tired, but mentally, physically, emotionally tired. It's been a long week and a long couple of days.
Anastasia: Do you feel like you're overly emotional or are you have lost emotions?
Brad Gushue: No, I'm overly emotional. I've cried more in the last 48 hours than I probably have in the last 20 years. I think the emotion of just being here in the culmination of sixteen years of hard work to get back to this moment. And then you add in a hard loss, a heartbreaking loss in the semi-final and then to turn around and win a bronze medal?
And being an Olympic medallist again, it's it's been a lot of emotion getting to see my family after that hard loss and the big win, you know, seeing their emotion, it just brought it on for me. And I did an interview this morning with with Devin Hiroux and he did a little montage before and I lost it there too. So it's just I feel like my wife did when she was pregnant with my girls just, I was crying all the time in the last couple of days, so it's been quite an experience.
Anastasia: 16 years.
[Sound up from Turin 2006: Brad gushue skips team that curls to gold …."it's a gold
medal for Canada. Let the party begin. Cheers etc" .]
Anastasia: Was it everything that you thought it'd be cracked up to be?
Brad Gushue: Absolutely. Obviously, this experience was dramatically different than 16 years ago because we are in a pandemic, but just to be here and be around all the great athletes and where the Canadian, you know, Canadian outfits and Canadian colours, it has been a great experience. You know, I would have loved for my family to be over here and be with us and share it with me. But it's not the world we live in right now. But it's definitely worth it was worth all the work over the last sixteen years to get back.
Anastasia: My camera operator is from Newfoundland. And when he heard you were coming in in he just about squealed, What's everyone saying back home?
Brad Gushue: I think they're pretty excited. I think they're pretty proud of how we fought through this week. I think every Canadian curling fan and every Newfoundlander who's followed us for the last number of years knows that we weren't at our best this week. We were just a little bit off. And for us to battle through and get a bronze medal, I think they're proud of us and to see that kind of determination, grit that we showed, I think that's something I'm going to be proud of.
It would have been easy for us to kind of fold it in and say, you know, we're we're not winning the Gold Medal. We're playing terrible and write it off, but that's not who we are and not what we wanted to showcase. And you know, I'm proud of that. I think Newfoundlanders and Canadians are going to be proud of that as well.
Anastasia: What felt 'off'?
Brad Gushue: To be honest, I don't know. We were searching for it all week,
Anastasia: That's so annoying in sport!
Brad Gushue: It is. It's just the nature of sports like, I think there's some, some weeks you have it and some weeks you don't. And this is one of the weeks we didn't. And I think the fact that we're as good a team as we are, we were still able to compete when we were at our arguably our worst at times like it was. It was very frustrating. And we've had these weeks in the past. Every athlete has had those and it just it's unfortunate when it aligns with the Olympic Games. And you know, I was fortunate enough sixteen years ago where we had a we had a good week and we came away with the Gold Medal. So it is the nature of sports and that's why it can't always be about just winning. Like it has to be about the experience, about the journey, about the challenges you overcome. And we overcame a lot this week to get to where we are right now.
Anastasia: How do you compartmentalise in curling?
Brad Gushue: It's tough because it's not, it's not the fastest moving sport where you're just reactionary. Like, there's a lot of thought process that goes into it and it's a real challenge. I think that's one thing I've gotten better at throughout my career is kind of compartmentalising some things. I don't know how I've done it, but you know, I if I was going to look at one thing, I got into mindfulness probably five or six years ago and it allows me to kind of stay in the moment and park some stuff and, you know, come back to it later. I'm still a worrier. I'm still an over thinker. But when I'm out on the ice, I seem to be able to stay in the moment pretty well and certainly way better than I did before. And I think that's probably one of my skills right now. Like my competitive advantage, is my ability to do that. At least I hope it is. That's what I convince myself anyway. So I'm not sure. I hope that answers your question a little bit.
Anastasia: Do you know when to buckle down on training and mindfulness or when you're just, I need to have a beer and actually just chill.
Brad Gushue: Yeah, I know I've gotten good at that. There's times when you just need to get away from the sport and not think about it and not do anything else. And then there's times where it needs to be your number one priority. And yeah, I've been able to do that. I don't practise near as much as I used to because I don't feel I need to, and I'm in a place in my life where I'm in a better headspace, when I curl, when I know I've spent some time with my kids and with my wife and I've got that balance.
Whereas when I was 25 years old, it was all about curling all the time. If I did that now, I'd feel like I was letting my family down because I'm not spending time with them. So, you know, if I can have that balance, I feel like when I'm on the ice, I can be better focussed and more engaged. So I get more out of my practises now than what I did 15, 16 years ago.
Anastasia: That last shot was a beauty. Did you realise….?
Brad Gushue: Yeah, I I knew if I made that, you know, it was over. I still, even if I missed that, I would have had another shot right after it. So this is a pretty nice situation to be in as a as a curler, knowing that if I make it this is over, if I miss, I got another crack at it. And I threw it good. And when it made it, it was just a sense of relief. You know, emotion obviously hit me right away. And yeah, I could just see the guys there. They were just overjoyed to win the bronze.
Anastasia: We got to see your family. I feel like I know your family. I don't even know you! But your dad had a few Coors Light on…
Brad Gushue: Only a few?
Anastasia: …And I thought, I like his father.
Brad Gushue: Yeah. Listen. My mom and dad have been they've been with me since I started curlling at 13, travelling and all the events, with me and supporting me. And they watch every single game and I haven't been able to communicate with them that much while I'm over here. So I'm looking forward to seeing them and obviously my wife and my two kids who have to deal with me when I come home after a poor event or, you know, deal with me when I'm struggling at practise and I come home and I'm upset or disappointed or angry or whatever it is. And they're my biggest fans, and I'm certainly I'm excited about the medal ceremony and the closing ceremony, but I'm more excited to get home and see them and embrace them and share the medal with them and talk about more of the experience. And I've been trying to keep them involved while I'm over here by sending pictures and videos and facetime and things like that. But you know, I want to, I just want to see them.
Anastasia: It's not the same.
Brad Gushue: Yeah, it's not the same
Anastasia: Face time is great, but it almost makes you miss them more.
Brad Gushue: Yeah, I want to. I want to hug them.
Anastasia: So what's the biggest surprise for you in Beijing?
Brad Gushue: To be honest, I think it was just the challenges our team faced. And, you know, I felt we were in a really good place and we were: come in here and perform as consistently as we had for the last number of years. And, you know, I think I was a little bit surprised, but I'm also surprised at how well we handled it. And, you know, even though we lost, we lost more games this week than we've lost all year, we handled it well. We still respected each other. We still did all the stuff that our team should do. And you know, I'm proud of that too. So that's probably the biggest surprise. Just where this came from and then also where we had the resolve to get to where we are at with a bronze medal.
Anastasia: It's time to go on vacation.
Brad Gushue: yeah, absolutely.
Anastasia: Mai Tai and a beach, that's what I keep telling myself.
Brad Gushue: I think everybody needs a vacation. Once this pandemic is done.
Anastasia: Oh, it's so dry here too. It is like my legs. I'm like shedding my skin. It's horrible. I need some vitamin D.
Brad Gushue: My hands are the same way. It's crazy. Need some Moisture! Need some good East Coast air.
Anastasia: Yeah, East Coast Air! . Thanks so much.
Brad Gushue: It's been a pleasure. Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Another mark of a champion?
Brad Gushue found time for media, even when his own wheels were falling off.
Player's Own Voice podcast is a CBC sports production.
Social media? #players own voice... I'm @Anastasure .
Olivia Pasquarelli edits our audio. Adam Blinov wrote our theme music.
David Giddens is our producer.
Beijing has been a blast. Thanks for listening to our work here.
More athletes stories in the weeks to come.