Kevin Martin: The curling team led by skip Kevin Martin will represent Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. On Sunday, the veteran Martin defeated Glenn Howard 7-3 in front of a hometown crowd in Edmonton. Martin was a 2002 Olympian who won silver in Salt Lake City. Next February, he’ll have his second crack at the gold medal. He will do so with his team of Ben Hebert, Marc Kennedy and John Morris. Congratulations to all men’s teams on an excellent tournament.
Cheryl Bernard: Don’t be heavy thought Cheryl Bernard as her final stone curled toward the eight-foot circle. Indeed that last stone seemed heavy but stopped in the back eight-foot. When it did, Bernard won a point in the 10th end to defeat Shannon Kleibrink 7-6 and booked a ticket to the Olympic curling tournament next February. In 2006, Kleibrink won Olympic bronze, and this time Bernard’s team will represent Canada after a hard-fought Curling Trials. It was Bernard’s biggest career win and she heads to Vancouver with Susan O’Connor, Cori Bartel and Carolyn Darbyshire. Congratulations to all the women’s teams, some of the world’s best curlers.
Christine Nesbitt: Nothing is stopping speed skater Christine Nesbitt. At the season’s fifth World Cup in Salt Lake City, she won yet another gold medal in the 1,000 metres. Her torrid pace in the race led to the fastest time of her career. She added a second gold medal in the 1,500 metres, showing she is a true force on the oval. Nesbitt also won a silver medal with Kristina Groves and Cindy Klassen in the action-packed women’s pursuit.
Kristina Groves: Groves has been slowly ascending the ranks all season, and the powerful skater is starting to have consistently strong races. She captured silver in the 1,500 metres, second to Nesbitt. One day earlier, she nabbed the bronze medal in 3,000 metres, her first medal of the season in that event, which is one of her best. Her third medal was in pursuit, and she had a strong 7th-place finish in the 1,000 metres.
Their Teammates: There were many notable results among the speed skating team in Salt Lake City. The men’s pursuit team of Lucas Makowsky, Mathieu Giroux) and Steven Elm won a bronze medal behind Norway and Italy. Jeremy Wotherspoon led men’s skaters in the 1,000 metres by finishing 6th. Edmonton’s Jamie Gregg had an excellent 500 metres, finishing just off the podium in 4th. Denny Morrison was 5th in the 1,500 metres, while Makowsky was 8th. Clara Hughes, getting back to shape, was 8th in the 3,000 metres, about 90 seconds faster than last weekend.
Kristi Richards: The prize of Summerland, B.C. turned up the heat in the first freestyle skiing moguls World Cup race of the year. In Suomu, Finland, Kristi Richards won gold on Friday and silver on Saturday. In Torino 2006, she finished 7th. Olympic champion Jennifer Heil started her season with a bronze medal on Saturday. World champion Alexander Bilodeau started off with a bronze as well.
Kim St. Pierre: Goaltender Kim St. Pierre stopped 27 shots as the Canadian women’s hockey team beat rival United States 4-2 in Denver. Caroline Ouellette, Marie-Philip Poulin, Gina Kingsbury and Meghan Agosta scored for Canada in the exhibition match. The two countries play again Tuesday in Calgary.
Devon Kershaw: Bouncing back into form after a poor start to the season, Devon Kershaw finished 9th in the 15 km skate-ski World Cup race in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday. Other finishers: Ivan Babikov 26th, George Grey 28th, Alex Harvey 34th and Sara Renner 25th in the 10 km race. In Nor-Am action, Dasha Gaiazova helped her chances at qualifying for the Olympic Winter Games by skiing to the silver medal in the 10 km race. The top Canadian man was Gord Jewett, who finished 4th in the 15 km. The next day, Gaiazova and Phil Widmer won gold medals in the 1.1 km Nor-Am sprint races.
Kaillie Humphries: With brakeman Heather Moyse, Kaillie Humphries broke the track’s start-time record en route to finishing 5th in a bobsleigh World Cup race in Winterberg, Germany. Humphries is the top Canadian in the women’s standings overall, in 5th spot. Helen Upperton is 6th.
Mellisa Hollingsworth: Skeleton star Mellisa Hollingsworth won a silver medal in Winterberg on Friday, pushing her atop the World Cup standings. In 2006, Hollingsworth led the World Cup standings heading into Torino where she won Olympic bronze. On Friday, Jeff Pain was the top Canadian man, finishing 9th.
Zina Kocher: Top Canadian women’s biathlete Zina Kocher posted some impressive results in Hochfilzen, Austria. At the World Cup, she finished 18th in sprint (her best mark of the season), 21st in pursuit and 13th in 4×6-km team relay. For the latter, she teamed with Sandra Keith, Megan Tandy and Megan Imrie. The men’s relay team of Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, Brendan Green and Robin Clegg finished 17th in their 4×7.5 km race.
Nicholas Tritton: Judoka Nicholas Tritton (a 2008 Olympian) won a bronze medal in the men’s 73 kg at a Grand Slam event in Tokyo. It is Canada’s first medal at this event since 2003.
Gabriela Dabrowski: You might hear more from this young lady in the future. Gabriela Dabrowski became the first Canadian tennis player in 27 years to win the Orange Bowl tournament. The junior defeated World No. 1 Kristina Mladenovic in the girls under-18 singles final.