VANCOUVER — Kevin Martin has given Canada its 13th gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics, defeating Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud 6-3 in the men’s curling final Saturday.
The Edmonton skip played a disciplined game from start to finish, adding gold to the silver he won eight years ago in Salt Lake City.
Martin, who already holds four Canadian championships and one world title, pumped both of his hands in the air as he added the title of Olympic champion. Third John Morris and lead Ben Hebert embraced before they all rushed for a group hug in the middle of the ice.
“We’re Olympic gold medallists can you believe that?” said second Marc Kennedy.
The four players, who finished the tournament undefeated, then unveiled a Canadian flag and held it above their heads to the delight of the crowd.
“Finally, it took a long time, a lot of years,” Martin said of the Olympic win. “The hard work’s worth it.”
It was the third gold of the day for Canada after the men’s long-track speedskating pursuit team and snowboarder Jasey-Jay Anderson won their events earlier. Canada’s 13 golds are the most of any country at the Games.
“It was a great day for Canada — three golds and an overwhelming feeling right now,” said Kennedy. “It’s pretty amazing. All that work and a medal.”
Ulsrud, resplendent in the psychedelic red-and-white Loudmouth Golf Pants that had become the team’s trademark, had just two losses heading into the final.
He joked that the magic of the pants was gone after Saturday’s loss.
“I thought we couldn’t lose in these pants,” he said.
Ulsrud said he was “a bit disappointed right now but I think I’m going to be quite happy with silver. Taking a medal in the Olympics was our big goal.”
After blanking the first end, more rocks were put in play in the second. A key shot in the end had Morris make a triple takeout to clear the Norwegian stones. But after Ulsrud buried his last shot behind cover, Martin was forced to draw for a single point to take a 1-0 lead after two.
Morris made another double-takeout and stuck his shooter behind cover in the third. Norwegian third Torger Nergaard failed with takeout attempts on back-to-back shots.
Facing four Canadian stones, Ulsrud came up just short with his draw attempt giving Canada a steal of one and a 2-0 lead.
Morris came up big again in the fifth end — making another double-takeout. Once again the Norwegian skip came up just light with his draw to the button to give Martin another steal and a 3-0 lead.
Ulsrud came back with two points in the sixth end to draw within one, but in doing so handed last-rock advantage to Martin.
A draw for two points by Martin to take a 5-2 lead in the seventh prompted the 5,600 fans to leap to their feet — chanting “Go Canada Go.”
Another double by Morris in the eighth eliminated any threat of a Norwegian comeback. Ulsrud hit for a single point to make the score 5-3.
Martin scored a single in the ninth to lead by three going into the final end.
Midway through the 10th, fans started waving Canadian flags and singing “O Canada.” Even Ulsrud couldn’t help but smile.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on hand to watch the game — sitting with Canadian women’s curlers Susan O’Connor, Carolyn Darbyshire and Cori Bartel. Skip Cheryl Bernard gave the game a pass, deciding instead to spend time with her family.
The Bernard rink finished with a silver medal — losing in an extra end to Anette Norberg of Sweden on Friday.
Other notables in the crowd included Canadian-born actor Donald Sutherland as well as Canadian hockey coach Mike Babcock, IOC president Jacques Rogge, and IOC member Dick Pound.