That which does not kill you can win you a medal of the gold or silver variety. On Wednesday night, Brad Jacobs’ Canadian curling team showed it can put its shaky past behind it with a dominating performance over the Chinese. The win puts them in the gold medal final Friday.
The 10-6 win came just hours after the Canadian women’s team, led by skip Jennifer Jones won, their 10th-straight game, to vault over Great Britain and into the gold medal final. They’ll play Sweden on Thursday while Jacobs’ crew faces Great Britain. Both Canadian teams are now guaranteed at least silver, although both Canadian skips made all the right noises about gunning for gold.
After a slow start that left the men with one win and two losses in their first three games, they turned to Team Canada hockey coach Mike Babcock for a bit of advice and a pep talk. “He said, ‘You’re one-and-two, that doesn’t mean anything, just go out there and execute’,” Jacobs said of Babcock’s advice. “And that’s what we’ve done.”
Of course their curling coaches had their own take on the team’s early troubles. “They finally showed up,” said a relieved national team coach Rick Lang. “Really, that’s the team we expected a lot earlier in the week, I’m sure they wanted to bring that earlier. That’s not an insult, I’m just really glad the A-team showed up at a critical time.”
And they did, in a game they controlled from the start. The Canadians are hurling stones with remarkable speed and uncanny precision. “Their power game, I think is unmatched,” said Lang. “The game has been transcending that way for ten years and they’ve taken it another notch with their power and the way they can move rocks around and control the house.”
Team member Ryan Fry had to agree that they saved their best for the medal rounds. “We have a knack of being able to elevate our game in the big game,” said Fry. “I don’t know what the recipe is for that, I wish we could bring it to every single game.”
Jacobs said the earlier adversity has served the team well. “Going into that last game I don’t think any of us were nervous at all and that’s because of everything we’ve faced to this point this week. We’ve won at lot of games by an inch, so it was a different feeling going into that game,” he said. “I think it proves that we can win the close games. We’ve got a lot of fight in us. We’re not afraid to be in a close game and have to make our last [shot] to win.”
On Friday they’re need every inch they can find against a tough Great Britain team.