Canadian Olympic Medal Count
Mark Nichols was the third on Canada’s first ever Olympic gold medal-winning team in men’s curling at Turin 2006. Sixteen years later, he returned to Olympic ice at Beijing 2022 and won a bronze medal. That gap between medals is the longest in Canadian Winter Olympic history, something he did alongside his longtime teammate Brad Gushue.
Among his other accomplishments, Nichols has won four Brier titles as well as a gold and two silver medals at the world championships.
Nichols made his Olympic debut as a 26-year-old. Prior to the 2005 Canadian Trials, his Newfoundland-based team that included skip Brad Gushue, lead Jamie Korab, and second Mike Adam recruited veteran Russ Howard – a two-time Canadian and world champion skip – to bring experience to the young squad. Adam volunteered to step out of the main lineup as the team felt that having Howard play full time gave them the best opportunity to win the Trials. With Gushue throwing fourth stones while Howard played second and held the broom in the house, the team upset another decorated veteran, Jeff Stoughton, in the final to earn their ticket to Turin.
At the 2006 Olympic Games, the team posted a 6-3 record in the round robin to advance to the semifinals. After a dominant win over Team USA, the Canadians claimed the gold medal with a blowout 10-4 victory over Finland. The win was marked by Team Gushue scoring a remarkable six points in the sixth end. Nichols is remembered for his raise triple takeout in that end as he shot 97 per cent in the gold medal game. Gushue, Nichols, Korab and Adam became the first Newfoundlanders to ever win an Olympic gold medal. In anticipation of the history-making match, schools in the province were closed in the afternoon to allow students to watch.
Nichols made his first of 17 appearances at the Brier in 2003. He won his first Brier title in 2017 on home ice in St. John’s, ending a 41-year drought for Newfoundland and Labrador at the national championship. Along with Gushue, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker, he went on to win gold for Canada at the 2017 World Championships.
After winning a second straight Brier in 2018, Team Gushue went to the world championships again, this time coming home with the silver medal. In 2020, Team Gushue won three playoff games at the Brier as they claimed their third national title but did not get a chance to compete at the world championships when they were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the Canadian Curling Trials in November 2021, Team Gushue posted a 7-1 round robin record to finish first in the standings. That gave them a bye to the final, where they defeated 2014 Olympic Brad Jacobs and his team 4-3 to become Team Canada for Beijing 2022.
In Nichols’ second Olympic appearance, Team Gushue got into the playoffs with a 5-4 round robin record. After a tough loss to the reigning world champions from Sweden in the semifinals, the team rebounded to defeat the defending Olympic champions from the United States 8-5 in the bronze medal game.
Just a couple of weeks after returning home, Team Gushue competed at the 2022 Brier as a wild card team. After posting a perfect 8-0 record in their round robin pool, they were dealt a blow when Nichols tested positive for COVID-19. He watched on TV from his hotel room as Gushue, Gallant and Walker played as a three-man team in the playoffs. They advanced to the final where they defeated four-time Brier champion Kevin Koe 9-8 in an extra end, giving Nichols his fourth national title. Team Gushue went on to win silver at the 2022 World Championships.
Nichols started playing with Gushue in 1998-99. They remained teammates until 2011-12 when Nichols briefly retired then played two seasons with Stoughton in Manitoba, which included Brier appearances in 2013 and 2014. Nichols returned to Gushue’s team that now included Gallant and Walker in 2014-15.
A Little More About Mark
Getting into the Sport: Has seen photos of himself on curling ice when he was 2 years old; started playing at age 7 and competed in his first provincials at age 12… Outside Interests: Owner and head coach at Orangetheory Fitness… Graduated from Memorial University in 2005 with a degree in Kinesiology… Was granted an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from Memorial in 2006 following his Olympic gold medal… Odds and Ends: Favourite quote: Nobody cares, train harder… Had Team Gushue Highway and Mark Nichols Place in St. John’s named after him following the 2006 Olympic gold medal… Inspired by such moments as Sandra Schmirler skipping her team to gold at Nagano 1998 and Donovan Bailey winning 100m gold at Atlanta 1996…
Notable International Results
Olympic Winter Games: 2022 - BRONZE; 2006 – GOLD
World Men’s Curling Championships: 2022 - SILVER; 2020 – Cancelled (COVID-19); 2018 – SILVER; 2017 – GOLD
World Junior Curling Championships: 2001 – GOLD